09 October 2014
Somalia and its twin Somaliland are prototypes of states that fail and states that recover. The difference between Somalia and Somaliland is the difference between a peace owned and a rent-seeking peace. Local ownership is but one aspect of the conditions for state recovery.
Somalia and Somaliland on the Horn of Africa are prototypes of states that failed and states that recovered. Somaliland declared independence from Somalia on 18 May 1991 after a six-week Grand Conference of the Northern Peoples in Burao. The conferences in Burao and later, Bomora were managed and financed by locals, bringing their own food and shelter over many weeks, sometimes months.
These events were “bottom-up, not top-down”, emphasised Mohamed Omar, the minister of commerce, “unlike Somalia’s, which has been top-down, driven by donors through leadership and taking place outside the country”. Somalilanders concentrated on achieving peace, not on acquiring financial rents for delegates from the process, a feature which has continually by contrast blighted Somalia’s attempts to the south, where conflict entrepreneurs have fed off both the fighting and the talking.
…Greg Mills heads the Johannesburg-based Brenthurst Foundation and is currently a Visiting Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. His latest book – ‘Why States Recover’ (Picador/Hurst) – based on his assignments in three dozen case-studies across the world, is being launched at RSIS this month.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 10/10/2014