Somaliland: Khat, a Scourge of Blessing?


Khat is an institution, wielding enormous economic impact, as well as playing a major social and cultural role in societies” James Jeffrey
 A Somaliland man picking khat leaves during an afternoon session in the capital Hargeisa. Credit James JeffreyIPS

Somalilandsun- It’s estimated 90 percent of Somaliland’s adult male population—and about 20 percent of women—chew khat for mirqaan, the Somali word for the buzz it can give.
Nowadays khat is so enmeshed with Somaliland culture and daily life it’s an important tax earner for Somaliland’s government. In 2014, khat sales generated 20 percent of the government’s 152-million-dollar budget, according to the Somaliland Ministry of Finance.

Khat is also the No. 1 employer in Hargeisa, the Somaliland capital, generating between 8,000 and 10,000 jobs, thereby offering much-needed respite to the country’s chronic unemployment problem that see 75 percent of its youth workforce jobless writes James Jeffrey of Inter Press Service in a piece titled “Khat in the Horn of Africa: A Scourge or Blessing?