SOMALILAND – At a Glance:
Population = 3.5 Million Urban Population = 1.6 Million Capital City = Hargeisa Area = 137,600 km2 Coastal Length = 850 Km Currency = Somaliland Shillings (SlSh) Standard Time Zone = GMT+3 Religion = Sunni Islam Languages = Somali, Arabic and English
The Republic of Somaliland known as the Somaliland Protectorate under the British rule from 1884 until June, 26th 1960 when Somaliland got its independence from Britain. On July 1st 1960 it joined the former Italian Somalia to form the Somali Republic. The union did not work according to the aspirations of the people, and the strain led to a civil war from 1980s onwards and eventually to the collapse of the Somali Republic. After the collapse of the Somali Republic, the people of Somaliland held a congress in Burco on May 18th 1991 in which it was decided to withdraw from the Union with Somalia and to reinstate Somaliland’s sovereignty.
Somaliland is about the size of England and Wales with an area of 137,600km² (68,000 sq. miles). Somaliland is situated on the eastern horn of Africa and lies between the 08°00′ – 11°30′ parallel north of the equator and between 42°30′ – 49°00′ meridian east of the Greenwich. It shares borders with Republic of Djibouti to the west, Federal Republic of Ethiopia to the south and Somalia to the east. Somaliland has a coastal line to the north of the country, which extends 460 miles along the Red Sea.
The major topography features are:
- The low-lying coastal plains known as the Guban, running some 70 km inland with a very hot summer climate. A high escarpment running east-west parallel to the coast and rising to over 2000m at Erigavo.
- A plateau to the south of the mountains known as Ogo, extending to Ethiopia, with an average altitude of 1200m. Further inland and to the south is the Haud, red sandy plains stretching southwards into Ethiopia, where altitudes fall to some 500m.
CAPITAL CITY & MAIN TOWNS
Hargeisa is the capital of Somaliland with an estimated population of 0.65 million. The other main towns are Burao, Borama, Berbera, Erigabo and Las Anod.
The country has a republican form of government. The legislative assembly is composed of two chambers – an elected elder’s chamber, and a house of representatives. An elected President and an elected Vice-president head the government. The President nominates the cabinet which is approved by the legislature. There is an independent judiciary
The country has three political parties. i.e Waddani Party, Kulmiye Party and UCID party. The current President of the Republic is H.E Muse Abdi Bihi and the vice-president is H.E Abdurrahman Abdillahi Ismail of Kulmiye who were elected on December 2017 for a five-year term.
The official Somaliland currency is the Somaliland shilling (SlSh). It is regulated by the Central Bank of Somaliland which was constitutionally established in 1994.
The most important sector in Somaliland is livestock production which is predominately pastoral and agro-pastoral in Somaliland employing over 70% of the population. Livestock is the major export of Somaliland accompanied by its by-products i.e. hides and skins while the country heavily depends on imports of food, fuel and manufactured products. Livestock production in Somaliland contributes to 60% of GDP and around 85% to foreign export earnings (Somaliland National Development Plan, 2012 – 2016). Somaliland’s agricultural sector accounts for around 17% of the economy making it the second most important sector.
Somaliland’s economy is also heavily dependent on remittances sent by the global Diaspora which equates to around $1 billion per annum.