Somaliland celebrates 33rd anniversary of regaining its sovereignty


By: Mohamed Duale

Hargeisa, May 18, 2024 — Amidst a sea of national flags and jubilant celebrations, Somaliland marks its 33rd year of regaining its sovereignty. This milestone is a testament to Somaliland’s resilience and determination to carve out its path despite the lack of international recognition.

A Journey of Determination

The journey towards sovereignty was not an easy one for Somaliland. After gaining independence from British colonial rule in 1960, Somaliland voluntarily – albeit mindlessly – united with Somalia to form the Somali Republic. However, internal conflicts, governance issues, imbalance of powersharing and resources, widespread persecution, and looting targeting large sections of the Somaliland population, culminated in a devastating civil war that claimed the lives of more than 200 000 Somaliland civilians, the destruction of cities and the displacement of more than half a million people, led to the dissolution of this union, prompting Somaliland to assert its independence once again.

Celebratory Events

The capital city, Hargeisa, is the epicenter of the festivities. Streets are adorned with the Somaliland flag’s red, white, and green colors, and public squares are filled with music, traditional dances, and speeches. President Muse Bihi Abdi addressed the nation, emphasizing the progress made over the past three decades and the aspirations for future development.

“Today, we celebrate not just our independence but our unwavering spirit and collective achievements. Despite the challenges, we have shown the world that Somaliland is a beacon of peace and democracy in the Horn of Africa,” President Bihi Abdi stated.

Achievements and Challenges

Over the past 33 years, Somaliland has made significant strides in various sectors:

  1. Governance and Democracy: Regularly held elections have underscored Somaliland’s commitment to democratic principles. The recent parliamentary and local elections saw a high voter turnout, reflecting robust civic engagement.
  2. Economic Development: The economy, driven by livestock exports, remittances from the diaspora, and burgeoning sectors like telecommunications, has shown resilience. Efforts are ongoing to diversify the economy and attract foreign investment.
  3. Education and Health: Investment in education and healthcare has improved literacy rates and access to medical services, although challenges remain in rural areas.
  4. Security and Stability: Unlike many of its neighbors, Somaliland has managed to maintain relative peace and stability, making it an outlier in a region often plagued by conflict.

Despite these achievements, Somaliland faces significant hurdles. The lack of international recognition limits its ability to engage with global financial institutions and secure international aid. Additionally, unemployment and infrastructure development remain pressing issues that the government aims to address.

International Relations

While unrecognized internationally, Somaliland has pursued diplomatic relations with various countries and organizations. It has engaged in dialogue with neighboring states and entities, advocating for recognition and partnership. The government continues to push for international acknowledgment, arguing that Somaliland’s stability and democratic credentials warrant such recognition.

Looking Ahead

As Somaliland celebrates this significant anniversary, its leaders and citizens are looking to the future with optimism. Plans are underway to enhance economic growth, improve infrastructure, and strengthen governance. The vision for the coming years is one of a prosperous, self-reliant, and internationally recognized Somaliland.

The 33rd anniversary of Somaliland regaining its sovereignty is not just a celebration of the past but a commitment to a future of peace, prosperity, and recognition. The people of Somaliland remain hopeful that their efforts will eventually lead to their rightful place in the international community.

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