The Somalia-Somaliland Talks. A Crossroads or a Dead End?

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Somaliland’s Government perceives it as an opportunity to gain recognition; Somalia’s Federal Government, on the other hand, envisages recognition as a process of tearing the ‘Somali Republic’ apart. Whatever the myths surrounding any rational decision, the world is watching to see whether Somalis mend or break the fence that has divided them for decades. Continue reading

Are state institutions relevant to the politics of the poor?

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In the developing world, more than a third of their urban populations live in areas where the social amenities such as water, healthcare, housing and education are desperately needed. Therefore, the state institutions and their policies– whether or not supported by aid agencies and development banks – need to work harder in addressing these problems. But for many scholars, the attention does not only focus on the role of state institutions or international NGOs but the part of the poor groups themselves. This is because the traditional state-managed approaches to poverty alleviation have not fully met the demands of a vast majority of the urban population. Continue reading

Reiventing the Wheel

Unhappy with their Somalia’s ‘marriage’, and upset with what appeared to be a policy of neglect, the people of Somaliland reclaimed their independence after many years of a die-hard struggle and became a republic on May 18th, 1991.  Since then Somaliland has enjoyed relative peace and stability which has enabled its people to reach  national consensus. Though not internationally recognised as a sovereign state, Somaliland has a working political system where the checks and balances between the government branches are in place. Continue reading

Cutting off the Somali Lifeline, a heated debate in Somaliland

According to Oxfam’s report, Keeping the Life Line Open – Remittances and Markets in Somalia, Somalis abroad use money transfer companies to send home an estimated $1.3 billion annually. These companies have a presence throughout the Somali territories and beyond, and together they provide essential financial services.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Merchants Bank of California, which handles an estimated 60 to 80 percent of the remittances sent to Somali territories from the United States, announced the closure of its business with Somali-American money transfer operators (MTOs). This has created a heated debate amongst  Somali communities all over the world because remittances have played a huge role in boosting the Somali economy amidst the turmoil over the past two decades.  In a bid to address this matter, Red Sea Cultural Foundation organised a public lecture and debate at the Hargeysa Cultural Centre, under the theme: Breaking the Lifeline: the Crisis Facing Somali Remittances from the US on the night of 12 February. Continue reading