Somaliland Update: In The Aftermath Of The London Conference

The London Conference has proven so far to have given Somaliland’s leadership an understanding of what needs to be done to bridge the gap between the reality and the perception of Somaliland. To their credit, the leaders of Somaliland have realized both in rhetoric [1] and in action that actions need to be taken to ensure better diplomatic and business connections with the outside world. The world will be quicker to recognize Somaliland when it is possible for companies to make money there. Fortunately, the possibility of doing so allows Somaliland its best chance for recognition.

How does one do business in a de facto nation? It is not an easy task. One of the biggest problems that de facto regimes like Somaliland face are the problems of enforcing contracts. Generally speaking, business are not interested in doing business if the contracts that they make cannot be enforced. After all, there are risks about force majure or nationalization even with recognized states, and doing business with a state that is not recognized presents even more difficulties because contracts with such a regime might be judged as being against the public interest and therefore not able to be enforced, to the detriment of both parties involved.

To some extent, Somaliland has been proactive about this problem. We have previously seen [2] how Somaliland circumvented the problem of a lack of recognition by placing itself under EU law in its contracts with ExtendedBITS. It appears to have taken this sound solution to handling its recognition problem and sought to do it on a larger scale by creating a British-licensed trust called the Somaliland Development Coroporation [3] which would have its contracts be enforceable because they would be under British law, circumventing the lack of recognition of the Somaliland regime itself.

It would appear that so far the Somaliland Development Corporation appears to be targeting companies interested in Somaliland’s oil and natural gas reserves. Since Somaliland shares the same basin as Yemen’s oil rich Gulf of Aden basins, the assumption of Somaliland (and presumably any oil companies who would invest there) is that those reserves are present in Somaliland as well. This appears to be a reasonable strategy, and one there are large enough finds, it would appear obvious that Somaliland would be able to profit handsomly in monetary and diplomatic terms.

In the meantime, Somaliland appears to be changing its approach from previous presidencies which sought to remain aloof from Somalia. President Silanyo and his administration seems intent on forming strong relationships with companies and countries based on mutual benefit, seeking not only to show the reality of Somaliland’s independent regime, but also to show how Somaliland can integrate with the larger international community as a legitimate and law-abiding member with strong democratic and pro-business norms. Why this strategy was not tried before I do not pretend to understand, but it at least holds out the potential for success by enmeshing Somaliland within international trade and law, making it necessary for recognition to preserve regional stability and combat problems like piracy.

It would therefore appear more than coincidental that the Somaliland Development Corporation news appeared at the same time as Somaliland intensified its efforts for greater diplomacy with the United Kingdom, its former colonial power. The United Kingdom has committed up to 105 million pounds to Somaliland to help counter piracy and also reduce poverty [4]. The United Kingdom recognizes that a strong Somaliland state is a bulwark in the region against the spread of terrorist groups like Al-Shabab as well as Puntland-backed pirates. The more that Somaliland becomes embedded in the international community the more obvious its case for recognition becomes. Pariah regimes do not receive international recognition, but regimes whose territory is rich in resources and whose behavior clearly meets international norms with support from Security Council members do.

And therein lies the rub. It seems that Somaliland’s initial leadership too so much offense to the biased and hostile treatment it received from the UN and African Union back during Somalia’s initial descent into anarchy that it wasted a good many years of building up goodwill with the international community. It appears, at least, to have recognized its error and acted to undo it. May Somaliland therefore receive the success they have so richly endured for so long. It appears that they are taking the steps necessary to do so in the eyes of the world, little by little, in the aftermath of the London Conference.

[1] http://somaliland247.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/video-somaliland-president-ahmed-silanyo-speech-at-london-conference-on-somalia/

[2]https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/somaliland-update-reliable-nation-aid-mission-to-somalia-extendedbits/

[3] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/somaliland-update-reliable-nation-aid-mission-to-somalia-extendedbits/

[4] http://somaliland247.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/strengthening-the-uks-relationship-with-somaliland/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in International Relations, Somaliland and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Somaliland Update: In The Aftermath Of The London Conference

  1. Pingback: A Modest Proposal For A Plebiscite To Resolve The Status Of The Republic Of Somaliland | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: On The Applicability Of Divorce Law To The Recognition Of New Sovereign States | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Book Review: Micro Nations: The Lonely Planet Guide To Home-Made Nations | Edge Induced Cohesion

  4. Pingback: Somaliland Update: Fighting Corruption By Targeting Ghost Workers | Edge Induced Cohesion

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