In today’s Somaliland Update we will look at how Somaliland is working little by little to improve its connections with other nations and develop its natural resources. First we will look at how Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave an award to a worthy Somalilander. Next, we will look at how Somaliland looks to improve knowledge of and exploitation of its petroleum reserves. Finally, we will look at how Somaliland is looking to start licensing foreign banks. These steps show a Somaliland that is gradually becoming an increasing part of the world of global business, moves that (hopefully soon) may mean a full recognized status as an independent nation.
In Pursuit Of Peace
A very busy and politically active woman, Shukri Ismall, is one of four women who have been awarded the Pursuit of Peace Award by the International Crisis Group for 2011. The award will be given by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton  on December 16, 2011 in New York City. Though I must admit I am not familiar with what CandleLight does, except for being an ‘impactful’ NGO in Somaliland, it is obvious that Shukri Ismall keeps busy with her NGO work.
This is only a sample of her work: co-founder of the NAGAAD Network, which supports women’s rights in Somailland, former member of the Somaliland Electoral Commission, current member of the African Democracy Forum committee, member of Somaliland Independent Scholar’s Group, all of which have kept her busy supporting democratic reforms in Somaliland and around Africa as a whole. It is obvious that Somaliland is sufficiently developed as a nation to support the sort of lobbying and political class that both Ismall and Sec. Clinton are a part of. This sort of class only exists in nations with a fair amount of democracy, the functioning trappings of freedom and the ability of people to make a living working in the public sector. Ironically enough, that means that Somaliland itself is a nation with substantial enough institutional development to make it an obvious nation-state, whatever the United Nation says. It is doubly ironic that Somaliland has managed to gain the trappings of the modern democratic nation state without having received the support of the corrupt international community as a whole. Life is full of ironies, though.
Somaliland Close To Deal On Oil Exploration
It is little surprise, given the rush for raw materials all over the world, that Somaliland has decided that it has had enough of waiting to see just how large its own oil reserves are and waiting for the old Somalia-era companies to do their due diligence to explore for oil because of their bogus security concerns . So, earlier this month, Somaliland declared it was “open for bidding” on oil firms that were willing to explore the territorial waters of Somaliland for oil. And several UK-based companies, including Ophir Oil Plc, Tullow Oil, Plc, and Asante Oil and Prime Resources, either have Somaliland permits to explore for oil or are expected to get that permission shortly. Since many American oil companies apparently think that Somaliland and Somalia are the same, they appear to be losing their access to Somaliland oil fields to companies that are more savvy.
Assuming that a sufficient amount of oil is found in Somaliland’s territorial waters (an assumption that should not be difficult given the oil resources of Somaliland’s neighbors), Somaliland would have an obvious chip in its efforts to gain international recognition, similar to South Sudan’s recent efforts to trade oil resources for foreign aid and international recognition. This is Somaliland’s gambit, and it is a worthy one. All it awaits is the discovery of some oil fields, and the new refinery in Berbera could be kept busy enough to bring Somaliland an honored place in the international community.
New Banking Law
Also coming soon in Somaliland is a new banking law, expected to be approved at the beginning of next year, that will allow for foreign banks to operate in Somaliland . Despite some objections by some Somaliland MP’s to some sections of the law, the law is expected to be signed into law shortly, which will allow foreign banks to operate within Somaliland for the first time. This presents an interesting dilemma in how Somaliland’s law governs banking operations when Somaliland is not a recognized nation, but it appears that banks from at least three foreign countries are willing to engage in that tangle.
The first bank is the Djibouiti-based Banque pour le Commerce et l’Industrie-Mer Rouge, which has operated a representative office in Heresia, the national capital of Somaliland, since 2001. The second bank is CAC Bank, owned by the Yemeni government. As both Yemen and Djibouti are neighbors of Somaliland it makes sense for these regional banks to desire to trade in their (sometimes more stable) neighbor. The third bank looking for a license is Dubai-based money transfer service Dahabshiil, presumably so Somalilanders working in the UAE can send their remittances home. Together these three banks demonstrate that Somaliland is an appealing business climate for foreign companies, which is something that Somalila can’t say for itself.