Thursday, March 15

A place that doesn't exist - Somaliland

Looking at international news, it appears that the representatives of the small northern part of Somalia have at least achieved international media attention of a sort, which is some going for an African country in their current situation. e.g. here, here and here

The northern part is known as Somaliland, and the situation is - actually quite good. peaceful, functional, not much of a problem really. Not a bad news story, which is normally all we hear from Africa. And certainly no thanks to us, as we've pretty much ignored them. They've run themselves as a separate country since the south fell apart, and are now looking for international recognition as an independent state.

However, apart from the dangers of IMF and World Bank money changing a stable system should they get recognition, there is the possibility of a bigger sudden change to the system - and such an outside jolt has caused problems for many countries in the past. The geography of Somaliland may not look particularly promising on the surface - something that led the British to take over in the 19th century just to stop anyone else doing so but otherwise pretty much not consider the place worth interfering with - but underneath it appears that it may be lying on a regional oil window reaching south across the Gulf of Aden.

Is this a chance for a stable but poor African country to become as wealthy as, say, the UAE? Or is the interference of the international community going to plunge them into the morass of their southern neighbours?

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