Unwelcome sound from unkind king!
Somalilandsun- Somalis in East Africa heard shocking news from the Gulf States – particularly from Saudi Arabia. The regime in Riyadhannounced temporary ban on Somali livestock. The regime made unclear statement about the ban mentioning there are infected livestock. There is no yet clear and evidence based facts about the type of disease of Somali livestock.
Regimes in Hargeisa and Mogadishu have separately denounced the ban declaring that Somali livestock are healthy and free from any disease. Both regimes announced that livestock goes through laboratory before the departure. However, there are different views about why Saudi Arabia suspended the Somali livestock. Extreme perspectives say that Saudi Arabia is responding recently rejuvenated relationship between Iran and Somalia when Iran handed weapons over to Mogadishu. Others mentioned that Saudi Arabia is against efforts on Oil production in Somaliland and Somalia. Others believe that Saudi Arabia is extending its influence in East Africa and therefore wants to exchange its interest in the region in the prospective compromise from the regimes in East Africa on the release of livestock. However, some people support that Saudi Arabia found out the disease and wants to keep its people save and healthy.
Here we look at the impact the ban could have for SomaliCommunity in particular to Somaliland community. Somaliland was severely affected by recurring draughts from delayed rains in the last four consecutive seasons. The draught devastated livestock in Somaliland. Early this year the draught affected western regions and currently in the eastern regions of Somaliland.
“Around three-quarters of people in Somaliland are pastoralists and agro pastoralists who are highly dependent of livestock and rain fed farming for their livelihoods” (FAO, 2014).
The economic depression for Somaliland community is that most livestock was killed by the draught, some are severely ill and starved and the remaining healthy livestock was banned. Other major economic burden on Somaliland community is the inflation where the rate of $ 1 fluctuates between 7500 -8000 SL shilling.
Unemployment in Somaliland is estimated in 72% (ILO, 2012). Including the 28% employed are all people involved in livestock from the livestock herder to international market livestock sellers. It is obvious that the impact of this ban is negative. Firstly it will increase the prevalence of unemployment as many people would be jobless. Second, migration is expected to double as the hope of economic prosperity narrows. Third, government revenue from the livestock is missing and that could result increase of tax from other sector or budget amendment that leads either lay off or suspending development projects. Finally it could affect our international relations as this is the only active exporting product that ties Somaliland trade to the world especially to the Gulf States.
There is wisdom“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. I mean it is not the first time that Saudi Arabia banned Somali livestock and there has never ever been a national meeting after the release of livestock on what is our plan if Saudi Arabia suspends our livestock again for any reason! The solution could even be we can’t avoid the risk of suspension but let us think of the strategy to minimize the likelihood of the risk. However, that wasn’t happened.
The problem is nationwide and therefore the government should take lead of organizing workshop by inviting different intellectuals on brainstorming the alternatives for surviving the nation and reducing the harm of the crises. The government shall contact the government of Saudi Arabia in confirmation of the disease and future cooperation.
The author Mohamoud S. Adad MBA, is a Senior lecturer at University of Burao