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Somaliland: Achievements and goals

Ambassador Kaysar Maxamed has a long history as a diplomat. He has held several positions in the past, including as a deputy minister of foreign affairs of Somaliland. In January 2018, HE Muse Bihi, the President of Somaliland, appointed him the ambassador of Somaliland in the European Union. We discussed the future of Somaliland, as well as the possibilities for peace in Somaliland. – writes Endre Barcs.

Q: Somaliland declared its independence in 1991 after Siad Barre was overthrown as Somalia’s military dictator. However, the Republic of Somaliland continues to be under attack from multiple terroristic groups, unionist groups, and hostile clan militias. What are these anti-Somaliland militias’ common goals?

A: Somaliland is not recognized internationally, but it has a functioning political system, strong government institutions and its own currency. Some traditional leaders from Sool are inciting and actively sponsoring the crime-in-partner organizations that attack us. They have clearly transformed into clan warlords. Their goal is to disrupt and destroy the peace, stability and development that Somaliland has been achieving for the past 30 years.

Somaliland’s reputation as the most peaceful country in Horn of Africa is at risk. As Somaliland’s people and country become more resilient and stronger to resist these anti-Somaliland forces, they will fall. The Somaliland National Army has the strength to defend its country and its sovereignty.

Q: Can peace be restored only by force?


A: Not at all! Somaliland’s government is willing to meet with leaders from the Sool region to end conflict through negotiations. The government has reached an unconditional ceasefire agreement and is calling for citizens to return their homes.

Q: Somaliland is not yet a country recognized by the United Nations. Foreign investors might be concerned that doing business there will prove difficult. Is that true?

A: The Economic System of Somaliland relies on supply and demand. It is open to all. Somaliland has an open market policy that is designed to eliminate discrimination against foreign investment, projects and financial transactions.


Somaliland’s government wants to demonstrate the global advantages that Somaliland has in the Horn of Africa, for trade, development and business for Africa’s landlocked countries. Somaliland has a large economic potential, and huge business opportunities to develop new markets. It is well-known for its abundance of natural resources, fast growing economy, and growing middle class. But it is also known for its exceptional hospitality.

Somaliland has a solid system of investment rights, and straightforward corporate law that will ensure investors get the best protection and benefits for their investments. Somaliland has a strong infrastructure that allows for investment, but also provides the security and growth needed. This is something that international companies know well as many global brands have already established themselves in Somaliland. Because of the attractive opportunities and location, I encourage international companies to invest here.

Let me give you an example. The Somaliland government is currently in negotiations for transit passage with Ethiopia. It has reached its largest foreign investment agreement with UAE. This includes DP World’s reconstruction and development of Berbera port. Berbera is located at the intersection of trade routes from the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and East Africa. The construction of the corridor road 242 connecting Berbera with Wajaale, Ethiopia is currently underway. These investments collectively will enable greater trade between Somaliland, Ethiopia and other countries.

Q: After two years of COVID, you have now taken over as the head of Somaliland’s Brussels office. I assume that his first priority is to get EU funding. Which EU programs are in place in Somaliland? In which areas would you like to receive additional EU funding?

A: Somaliland has not been recognised by any country in the world since its de facto independence. Although it might seem contradictory, Somaliland still maintains relations to different states, actors, and institutions, even though it is not official. Although it doesn’t officially recognize Somaliland, the European Union maintains relations at various levels with Somaliland, including cooperation and development, military operations, promotion of democracy, good governance, and support for educational, health, and gender programs to improve the living standards of the region.

As an example, in the framework of the EU project “Rebuilding trust on land issues in Somalia“, we received 2.26 million euros from the European Union in 2017. This pilot program was implemented in Somaliland in order to establish the basis for reform in the land sector. It includes policies, legislations and regulations, as well as institutional capacity to provide basic services to the people. All of these are important for peace and state-building.

As the head of the Brussels office of Somaliland, my first priority is to secure new EU projects. I also want to establish good relations with EU decision makers. To whom I would like to share the struggles my country has gone through and fight for official recognition of my independence by all EU member countries.

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