Somaliland: How an Unrecognized Country Transitioned to Stability Devoid of External Support


“Thank you, but we don’t need your help.”

Unecumbered by Non recognition of their Country and subsequent lack of direct aid Children live a full life as illustrated by this happy moments for kids at Madars wonderland in Hargeisa Somaliland

Somalilandsun – The dramatically divergent paths that Somalia and Somaliland took after a struggle led the latter to become a self-declared state in 1991 run counter to the conventional notions of the factors that drive successful peace processes and, perhaps more importantly, spur development actors to rethink the needs of post-conflict situations.

More than two decades after the collapse of the Somali central government, Somalia continues to be a major recipient of foreign aid. Official development assistance to Somalia amounted to $5.4 billion from 2003 to 2012, with the proportion of ODA given as humanitarian aid averaging 68 percent in the same period. According to Global Humanitarian Assistance, Somalia was the second-largest recipient of humanitarian aid in 2011, when humanitarian assistance to the country peaked at $1.1 billion.

On the other hand, Somaliland, which is internationally recognized as an autonomous region of Somalia, continues to be unable to receive direct foreign aid because of its lack of an official status as a sovereign country.

During its early years, Somaliland rejected international assistance, which the breakaway territory considered tied to the U.N. state-building project in Somalia. In an interview with author Rebecca Richards in “Understanding Statebuilding: Traditional Governance and the Modern State in Somaliland,” Abdullahi Duale, Somaliland’s former minister of foreign affairs, recalled that he and other leaders in Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital, told Admiral Jonathan Howe, then the commander of the U.N. operations in Somalia, “Thank you, but we don’t need your help.”

And yet the situations in Somalia and Somaliland today couldn’t show a more striking contrast states a piece by Anna Patricia Valerio titled How Somaliland transitioned to stability sans direct aid, recognition