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"Wixii qoran baa quruumo hadhee, muxuu hadal qiimo leeyahay." Somali
"Words fly, but scripts stay - for centuries." English

Shadow Secretary of State for Environment Kerry McCarthy urges the international community to acknowledge, listen Somaliland’s case for recognition



Kerry McCarthy MP Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

Kerry McCarthy MP Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has urged the international community to acknowledge the success that Somaliland has made for the past 25 years.

For marking 18 may, the 25th anniversary of Somaliland reclaiming its independence and separating from Somalia, the MP for Bristol East said, “Despite its former history as an independent country before the two countries [Somaliland and Somalia] attempted union, and 25 years as a stable, peaceful democracy since separation, Somaliland is yet to be recognised as an independent state.” In a statement published on the Facebook page of Somaliland Community in Bristol, she stated: “Only with recognition can Somaliland achieve its full potential.”

Bristol MPs (Kerry McCarthy and Thangam Debbonaire with Edna Adan, former Somaliland Foreign Minister)


Statement on Somaliland from Kerry McCarthy MP for Bristol East

“Today, May 18th, marks the 25th anniversary of the former British colony, Somaliland, separating from the former Italian colony, Somalia. Despite its former history as an independent country before the two countries attempted union, and 25 years as a stable, peaceful democracy since separation, Somaliland is yet to be recognised as an independent state. Only with recognition can Somaliland achieve its full potential, and I believe it is time for the international community to acknowledge this, and listen to the case for recognition.

Somalilanders in Bristol are making an important contribution to community life, and I am proud that Hibaq Jama has been re-elected as a Labour councillor. Many still maintain close ties with Somaliland and I know how important it is to them that Britain, as the former colonial power, takes a leading role in this process. I will do all I can, working with my colleagues in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Somaliland, to encourage the Government to do so. Today’s presentation of a letter to the UK Prime Minister from the President of Somaliland will, I hope, produce a serious response and will help Somaliland move one step closer to being recognised as the independent country that it clearly is.”

Related links

Somaliland Government

Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation



Recognition of Somaliland is overdue

Power is transferred peacefully through democratic elections. State institutions, including the police and armed forces, are in place. Terrorists find no safe haven within our territory. Nor do pirates operate off our coast.

Somaliland: 23 years of peace, democracy and stability

Somaliland: 23 years of peace, democracy and stability

Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Silanyo), President of Somaliland Republic – The African Union is proving exactly as far-sighted as its architects hoped; it is a tremendous force for good for our continent. Year by year, its authority and influence grow as it provides an indispensable platform for Africa to come together to address our many opportunities and challenges.

As we look around our continent today, the need for the AU’s intervention – both in response to terrible emergencies (as we have seen in Nigeria) and to accelerate wider progress – has rarely been greater. So I am genuinely reluctant, on behalf of my country, to add to an already packed agenda. But I believe the AU should no longer put off recognising Somaliland as an independent country and full member.

It is not the first time, of course, that our young country has asked the AU to take this momentous step. President Dahir Rayale Kahin, my predecessor, first applied in 2005. The result was an AU mission that looked at what our leaders and citizens had built together since we declared independence in 1991. It found that our progress was “unique” in African political history and recommended that the AU “should find a special method of dealing with this outstanding case”. Continue reading the full article

Somaliland has embraced mobile money – but at what price?

“Mobile money platform Zaad is booming in Somaliland, but there is concern its reliance on the dollar is damaging the economy,” writes Gianluca Iazzolino

Grasping his mobile phone, Abdirizak Yussuf Mahmoud prowls the Mohamud Haybe livestock market outside Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. A camel catches his eye and the bargaining begins. He shakes the hand of the trader, haggling in a silent code. Pinching an index finger adds 1,000 dollars to the price; grabbing a hand means 5,000 more.

Once agreement is reached, the handshake is broken. A quick chat confirms the details, before the sale is completed by mobile phone. No cash changes hands, no papers are signed. Instead, Yussuf Mahmoud types into his handset, the seller’s phone chirps, and the deal is done.

Such scenes are commonplace in Somaliland, where innovation and technology are filling the void left by the absence of international commercial banks and formal banking infrastructure. Continue reading

Time for Africa to recognise Somaliland, writes Foreign Minister Yonis

AS regional and global leaders gather for the World Economic Forum in Nigeria – Africa’s most successful economy – to discuss the necessity of inclusive growth, it is the less fortunate, the forgotten and the disenfranchised, which will rightly be at the centre of the debate. I – and all my fellow citizens – hope that time will be found at the Forum to discuss the extraordinary position of Somaliland, a country which has been forgotten by the global community.

Next Sunday, (May 18) our country will celebrate the 23rd anniversary of its declaration of independence. Yet despite fulfilling all the legal requirements to be recognised by the international community and the African Union, our country is still officially treated as an autonomous region of Somalia. This ignores both history and reality.

Somaliland and Somalia existed separately until 1960 when a disastrous but voluntary decision was made to merge. The union, unhappy almost from the beginning, fractured permanently when the Somali regime of Mohamed Siad Barre waged a brutal war against Somaliland in which 50,000 civilians lost their lives. As Somalia disintegrated into chaos in 1991, Somaliland took the opportunity again to control its own future. Continue reading

State Building in Somalia in the Image of Somaliland: A Bottom-Up Approach

“The creation of western-style government institutions has been unsuccessful in Somalia. This is a direct result of colonial administrations not laying the proper foundation for western government institutions to achieve legitimacy in a culture of clan and kinship based identity. In post conflict Somalia the top down approach to state building has been ineffective and a lack of government structure at the time of independence created an environment in which clan based fracturing of the government was inevitable. The existing clan and kinship examples of local governance replaced the central government starting in 1991 when the Somali state collapsed. Since then several examples of a bottom up approach to state building have emerged throughout Somalia. These attempts at state building have been quite successful and should be reviewed as a means for successful state creation in greater Somalia. Somaliland’s attempts at state building have proven to be comparatively successful and should be viewed as a model for successful state creation in third world or tribal type states,” argues Kenneth Upsall. Continue reading

Sheffield City Council Acknowledges Somalilanders’ Contribution, Votes to Recognise their Country as a Sovereign State

Notice of Motion Given By Councillor Mohammad Maroof, Labour

That this Council:
(a)       notes that thousands of people from Somaliland live in Sheffield and recognise and appreciate the important contribution they make to the City and the close ties Sheffield has with Somaliland;
(b)       supports the Somaliland community in Sheffield and their campaign to have Somaliland recognised as a sovereign state and gain a seat in the UN, with reasons for recognition including:
(i)         the Somaliland government believes that recognition would entrench democracy in the Horn of Africa;
(ii)        recognising Somaliland will aim to strengthen cooperation in the fight against terrorism, extremism, piracy, illegal fishing, toxic dumping, and other serious crimes; and
(iii)       the marketing of Somaliland as a safe tourist destination, primarily cultural and eco-tourism could also emerge as an important segment of the Somaliland economy;
(c)        notes that since 1991 Somaliland have had a democratically elected Government and President, in this time there have been 4 elections and changes of president, it looks after international waters with no piracy, it has opposition parties and is not a recipient of international aid;
(d)       believes that recognition will help to bring about stability in Somaliland, creating a situation where people can live in peace and harmony with the support of the International Community, and that recognition would bring international banks, jobs and finance;
(e)       welcomes the support for this campaign by local MP’s Paul Blomfield and Clive Betts and the work they are doing with the Cross Party Somaliland Group and would encourage other local MP’s to also support this Group; and
(f)        calls upon the Government to recognise Somaliland as an independent state and to encourage other Governments around the world to do the same.

To find details of the meeting click here

‘What Did You Do in the War, Mother?’

…[W]hat does war mean when you strip it of machismo and romanticism? What does it mean for elderly women? The disabled? Street girls? What would it have meant for me if we hadn’t left?

…[T]he dictatorship of Siad Barre had a much vaunted policy of sexual equality and many Somali women supported the regime and took part in its abuses. From the local espionage networks to the Women’s Auxiliary Unit in the army they wielded power over perceived enemies of the state. These individuals have been completely overlooked, as are most female perpetrators of violence, but when we are forced to confront them, as we were by Lynddie England’s smirking face in the images from Abu Ghraib, we feel a particular hatred and maybe even betrayal. Althoug…it was hard to tell if the condemnation was based on the idea that women are above these cruel acts…I wanted to investigate that discomfort and ask if women are in essence different to men when it comes to violence, if that desire is present in us however submerged or if, in fact, it’s just another power that we are denied?

Read the full article: ‘What Did You Do in the War, Mother?’ by Nadifa Mohamed | Author, The Orchard of Lost Souls | Huffington Post

Poem: Home?

A poem about forced migration

Just a young woman,

Proudly walking through her streets,

Calm and at rest.

Suddenly that freedom is stripped from her,

Now she’s running with her children away from bombs.

Only hearing the cries of her people,

She walks day by day night by night.

Trying to find a safe place for the night.

The horror her eyes see

As her home is DESTROYED! Read the rest of the Poem

The investment climate is not yet right for foreign investors to gamble on Somalia

Investing in a conflict zone like Somalia can be suicidal for global businesses even if the rate of return for their faith is higher. There is the need to worry about Corporate Social Responsibility, staff security, eruption of spontaneous violence, poor infrastructure and no legal recourse if things go wrong. Moreover, in the absence of widely available opportunities and political voice, together with corrupted leaders that embezzled seven out of every ten dollars they received according to a UN report published in July and strong presence of Al-Shabaab, people have come to rely on their tribes for security, protection and welfare. As a result, it would be very hard for both local and foreign investors to just set up a business in a certain region, bring their chosen staff and get on with their business without employing local tribes men in key posts even if they lack the qualifications and experience. Where they do decide to employ locals, investors may have to make enormous investment in the education and training which can deter even those with the deepest pockets. Continue reading

Diaspora political parties: Daydreaming in distant lands

Somalia; ‘Diaspora-led’ political parties : A new phenomenon constructed in the security of the Western world and by those who have very little real involvement with Somalia and its politics. It is built on arrogance, fantasy and colonial like ambition of civilising the Somali people through sudden democracy. This phenomenon I refer to is the creation of who have the desire to return home to govern their people.

From Ha Noolaato (where are they now?), Tayo and Hiil Qaran to the others I have not heard of but probably exist, there is this believe among their Diaspora leaders that they will be the ones to return peace, stability and security to Somalia. What is consistent about all of these organisations is that they are led from the comfort of the Western world and they are spearheaded by ambitious but out of touch individuals.

Continue reading