Somaliland, a former British Protectorate, achieved its independence on 26th June 1960. Somaliland united with the former Italian colony of Somalia on 1st July 1960 to form the Republic of Somalia. Somaliland became autonomous from the rest of Somalia, based on the original colonial boundaries, and restored a democratic rule on 18th May 1991 after the civil war. The Somaliland state was established following a series of negotiation and reconciliation meetings involving representatives of different clans (congress of elders) held from 27th April-18th May 1991 in Burao, Somaliland.
Constitutionally, Somaliland has a multi-party system of democracy, with an elected president and local council. Since 1991, the country has held 5 democratic elections, and has already established monetary as well as national policies to guide its operations. The current president is H.E. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud.
The administrative structure of Somaliland state consist of the judiciary, the legislature composed of the house of elders and the house of representative and the executive composed of the head of the state and his council of ministers who might not be elected members of parliament.
Somaliland is located at the horn of Africa between latitudes 80 and 11030’ North and longitudes 430 and 49030’ East. It borders the Gulf of Aden to the north, Somalia to the east, Ethiopia to the south, and Djibouti to the northwest. It has an estimated area of 137,600 Km2 with a coastline of 850 Km.
The country is divided into 6 regions namely
- Marodi Jeex,
The 6 regions are subdivided into 24 districts and sub districts.
The main urban centres in Somaliland include
- Hargeisa is the capital city with an estimated population of 0.3 million.
- Las Anod.
The country’s three distinguished topographical features are:
Guban, or the hot arid coastal plains, the rolling highlands of Oogo that also contains some rugged and inaccessible mountain ranges, and the Hawd plateau which stretches southwards, well into the Ethiopian territory. Somaliland receives rainfall ranging between 100 – 300mm per annum. The rainfall pattern is irregular and unevenly distributed both spatially and temporally
The humidity of the country varies from 60% in dry season and 92% in wet season
Somaliland exported slightly over one million goats and sheep, about 150,000 heads of cattle, and 5060 head of camel in 2005 therefore, in essences we can deduce that live animals, fish products, hides and skins are the main exports of Somaliland, thus providing foreign exchange to support the import capacity of the country; and, forming the basis of practically all trade and business activities, export and import.
According to the 1997 census, the population of Somaliland was estimated to be 3 million with an estimated population density of 22 persons per Km2. An estimated 55% of the population live in the rural areas, whereas 45% live in urban centres.
Islam is the state official religion. Islamic faith plays a major role in everyday social life.
Somali and Arabic are the official languages. However, English is widely used especially in day to day business transactions.
The Somaliland shilling is the official currency. Its denominations are in both bank notes and in coins. The units are subdivided into 500, 100, 20, 10, and 5 shillings besides one shilling coins.
Weights and measures
Since 1973 the decimal metric system was adopted e.g. Gram/kilogram, Meters, and Litres.
- Eid Al Fitri (after Ramadhan) 2 days
- Eid Al Adha (after Hajj) 2 days
- Birthday of Prophet (Mawliid) 1 day
- Islamic New Year day 1 day
- International Labour Day 1st of May
- National days (18-19 may) 2 days
- Independence Day (26june) 1 day
Entry visa requirements
Visa is required before entry into Somaliland. This can be obtained from Somaliland liaison offices in Djibouti, Addis Ababa or could be arranged locally by a representative/ sponsor of the visitor.
Any amount of foreign currency and travellers cheques can be imported and no declaration to the customs upon arrival is required.
An airport tax of US dollars $33 is charged for any person travelling to and from the country.
Since Somaliland became autonomous there is relatively peace in the entire country. The prevailing security and peace has encouraged business investments by both the local and other major multi-national companies. Peace in the region has encouraged international organizations to operate freely without nay hindrances.