Friday, March 25, 2011

Building Somaliland

Courtesy of
What do you do when you see people with fragile bones and in dire need of calcium? Build a milk farm, of course. Duh.

BBC did a short but awesome audio documentary on Somaliland (can't work the embed, for some reason), the autonomous region north of Somalia that declared its independence, showing what people are doing to build the country. Yes, there's remittances from abroad, but more heartwarming are the stories are the ones where people move home from abroad, or build everything from milk farms to major general hospitals built over graveyards with nothing but the internet as their guide, or money in their private bank accounts. This isn't a post on brain drain, but in the case of Somaliland, it's hard not to think that it's best that not everybody stuck around. What would this country do, after all, with all those people and too few sending hard currency from Europe or the Middle East to fuel the economy of a country that, officially, does not exist?

Listening to the BBC report, it's interesting that the government is more preoccupied with international recognition than private citizens, according to the BBC report. Ahmed Silanyo, the president of Somaliland, talks about the need for government to access loans with which to build the country's infrastructure, and, I suspect, funds with which to truly claim the dignity of a government. It's nice that the people in the documentary are quite happy with their country being private sector-driven though; they're going to need that as they continue to build their economy.

Things are far from perfect in Somaliland, one must point out, but they're creating quite the story for themselves.

Here's an old interview with now-president Ahmed Silanyo. An organization dedicated to the recognition of Somaliland is here.

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