Today’s Somaliland Update is full of unusual efforts to increase the profile of Somaliland internationally, increase the support of Somaliland youth for their homeland, and of European nations to help benefit their own strategic calculations in the Horn of Africa. As there are many updates to make (thanks to Somaliland247), let us get on with it.
South Sudan Invitation:
Somaliland President Ahmed Silanyo has been a busy man recently. Today he left Somaliland with an official invitation from the nation of South Sudan, which is going to declare their independence tomorrow . South Sudan has expressed a vocal and public interest of recognizing the independence of Somaliland as one of their earliest acts as a sovereign nation, an act that may encourage other nations in the region to do so. At any rate, providing an official invitation to the president of an unrecognized state to attend your international debutante ball is certainly a provocative move. Somaliland certainly hopes that the support and example of South Sudan’s successful secession will serve as a fitting precedent for Somaliland’s own longstanding independence from the imaginary state of Somalia. Somaliland should not need such a precedent, but no doubt the precedent is welcome to its people and leadership nonetheless.
British Warship Pays Visit To Berbera:
Somaliland247 has helpfully posted a video showing a British warship (presumably engaged in anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden) paying call to Berbera and inviting Somaliland President Silanyo and other Somaliland government officials aboard . This, like the official invitation given to President Silanyo, is a provocative move. Given the importance of the Suez Canal to European trade and to having a safe harbor in the very tumultuous region of the Gulf of Aden (Yemen and Somalia both border this sea as well), the fact that a British warship is making a visit to Somaliland would suggest that Somaliland is seen as an ally in the fight against piracy and worthy of official recognition (if not yet reaching the level of an independent nation). It does, at the very least though, show that Great Britain views Somaliland as an ally, which may yet pay dividends if greater aid and recognition is seen as the worthy price for aid in the fight against piracy.
EU Comissioner For Development Addresses Somaliland House of Representatives
Somaliland247 has helpfully included the (somewhat lengthy) address of the EU Commissioner for Develop, a fellow named Andris Piebalgs, to the Somaliland House of Representatives . This address is long on rhetoric, but is nonetheless somehwat useful in examining the attention Somaliland is receiving from the European Union. The address praises Somaliland for its steps towards democracy, looks for more regular orderly local and national elections, looks for the greater involvement of women and young people in Somaliland politics, and comments on Europe’s commitment to the development and well being of Somaliland. Without saying anything about recognition, the address manages to speak volumes about how Europe considers itself to be Somaliland’s most faithful friend, pointing out how the EU has the only permanent presence in Somaliland as an international donor, and he gives some very extensive details (it was a well prepared speech) on exactly what Europe has done and is doing to help Somaliland’s development. Can Europe be counted on to help Somaliland achieve recognition on a larger scale, or is it looking for Somaliland to continue to be an important, though somewhat secret, ally in its goals of ensuring the protection of European trade in a very dangerous part of the world? This address does not answer that question, but it is still a useful and important address nonetheless.
EU Projects In Somaliland
Somaliland247 also helpfully provides a look at the current EU projects in Somaliland, which run to 62 projects and about 63 million Euros . Included in these projects are some intriguing ones. The EU paid about half the cost of the most recent national elections, and donates substantially, including technical assistance, to help educate the Somaliland people and government about holding elections properly. The EU is also helping Somaliland in education, including the education of marganilized groups, increasing literacy rates, training teachers, building schools, and reviewing and updating textbooks. Europe has been trying to help Somaliland in family planning and providing care for pregnant mothers so that they can deliver their children safely. Additionally, the English are helping train hundreds of future Somaliland doctors at Kings College in London. The EU has a variety of Millennium Development Goals that were set in 2000 for 2015, including such matters as eradicating extreme hunger, providing universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health, as well as ensuring environmental sustainability. Additionally, the Europeans look to help boost job creation in Somaliland through labor intensive infrastructure improvements, as well as help improve agricultural productivity and the treatment and prevention of animal diseases in the vitally important Somaliland livestock industry. Looking at the lengthy list and its explanations, it is clear that Europe has a major interest in the development of Somaliland.
Somaliland Youth Alliance of North America (SYANA) Launches
A couple of weeks ago the Somaliland Youth Alliance of North American launched to help young people of Somaliland descent living in North America (especially in the United States) become more involved with their homeland, as they are part of a large diaspora) . I’m not quite sure exactly who the Robleh Maxamud Lafcanbe is who founded and chairs the effort, but it appears to be an initiative focused on harnassing the support of second-generation Somalilanders in the United States and Canada to support helping Somaliland develop, as well as providing visibility to the needs of Somaliland from within Western countries themselves, which gives press attention to Somaliland. It also seems to be casting a wide net for support—a direct connection with Somaliland is not necessary, only an interest in helping out, at least so says its communique.