Saturday, 26 July 2008


In 1884 the British acquired treaties from local chiefs asking for British protection (1884-1886). The Protectorate over British Somaliland was proclaimed in 1884; the protectorate's main importance for Britain laid in its strategic location, close to the Bab el Mandeb - the entrance into the Red Sea. It was first administered from Aden. In 1960 the British protectorate was terminated and independence declared as a sovereign state. The country then quickly merged with neighboring, formerly Italian Somalia as to form great Somalia. The below is a article posted from Progressio page for small brief background of Somaliland’s history.

The Republic of Somaliland (North West Somalia) is situated on the tip of the Horn of Africa. Somaliland was formed in 1991 after separating from southern Somalia following three years of civil war (1988-91) but the country still awaits international recognition. The war led to the deaths of nearly 60,000 people, massive displacement of people internally and to other countries, and a near total destruction of infrastructure, communications systems, banking and all public services.
Following a period of inter-clan conflict in 1995, Somalilanders settled internal disputes using traditional peace-building methods and are now rehabilitating and reconstructing their damaged country. Demobilization of former militia fighters into a national police force and army has made the country more secure within its own national boundaries.
A stable administration was formed with a smooth transition of leadership when Dahir Rayale took over after the death of his predecessor, former President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, in May 2002. President Rayale was re-elected in April 2003 by a narrow margin of 80 votes.
Parliamentary elections were held on 29 September 2005 - the first since before the 1969 coup in Somalia that brought the dictator Siad Barre to power. More than 76-strong team of international election observers invited. Around 800,000 voters went to the country's 985 polling stations to elect 82 MPs from a possible 246 candidates. Unfortunately, this was the culmination of a gradual process: after a 2001 constitutional referendum, 2002 municipal elections and a 2003 presidential election, Somaliland now has a legislature to balance the leadership of the president, Dahir Rayale Kahin, and his UDUB party.
In recent years, a broad range of civil society organizations has emerged in response to the needs of the population and is gearing up to use newly opened democratic spaces. Women's groups are particularly active and human rights are openly discussed. The written media is also able to publish with a freedom rarely found in the region, although the government has imprisoned some journalists.
Prior to the war, Somalia was considered one of the poorest countries in Africa with 70 per cent of gross national product believed to derive from remittances sent back by people working abroad. Somaliland remains desperately poor and, given its lack of international recognition, receives little help other than minimal aid from major donors.
The main national source of government revenue - the trade in camels, sheep and goats to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. the lack of international recognition has created a culture of self-reliance among the Somaliland people, supported by relatives and friends in the Diaspora, with their remittances being a major contribution to the economy. The population has made an enormous effort to re-establish basic health and education services.
The majority of Somalilanders are pastoral nomads, although the country is in transition as it moves towards increased urbanization. Camels - the traditional currency of prestige and wealth - sheep, goats and some cattle are raised in large numbers across the plains and rangelands and provide daily subsistence and the economic backbone of the country.
An estimated 60 per cent of the population depends directly or indirectly on livestock and livestock products. Agriculture provides subsistence for nearly 20 per cent of the country's population and is practiced mostly in the east and northwest of the country where there is enough rainfall. Crops grown include sorghum, maize, fruit and vegetables. Somaliland is also a producer of frankincense.
The informal economy and trade are strong and the results can be seen in the variety of goods available within the major urban areas. There is a flourishing trade in the stimulant Kat - a woody green plant chewed mostly by the men. Unemployment is high, however, and there are few formal jobs for young people.

1 comment:

Rooble Mohamed said...

Nice brief about Somaliland. I'm glad Somaliland is moving ahead besides the difficult challenges facing its journey to join the International community.