Somalia. The peace hopes that prevailed in 2004, when a new political leadership was elected following a conference in Kenya, returned in 2005 in deep pessimism. The warlords who dominated the new government showed no interest in putting the war documents aside and cooperating politically. In principle, both the African Union and the regional cooperation organization IGAD promised to send peacekeeping forces to help the government, but a peace possible to preserve was never achieved. The President and Prime Minister of the transitional regime refused to install themselves in the capital Mogadishu, where they had weak support, and instead settled in the town of Jowhar nine miles north. When Ali Muhammad Ghedi, titled Prime Minister, visited Mogadishu in May, at least 15 people were killed in an explosive attack near the place where he was speaking.
According to countryaah, Mogadishu is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Somalia. The UN Security Council condemned the arms embargo on Somalia, where both sides of the split government were vigorously preparing, apparently ready for an open confrontation.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym SO stands for the country of Somalia and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
Sweden was also drawn into the conflict when the national police chief appointed by the warlords in Mogadishu was arrested during a conference in Lund on Somalia’s future. He was suspected of war crimes, but the preliminary investigation was closed for lack of evidence. The arrest led to demonstrations against Sweden in Mogadishu.
The lawlessness in Somalia also had other consequences. The offshore waters are among the most dangerous in the world and a number of vessels were hijacked or threatened by pirates, including several vessels chartered to deliver emergency aid to Somalia. An American company was hired to fight piracy for two years.
After the Asian tsunami, which also reached Somalia, came information that large amounts of toxic waste, including radioactive substances and chemicals dumped on Somalia’s beaches had been scattered in the wild.
In sharp contrast to the chaos in Somalia, the outbreak republic of Somaliland in September conducted parliamentary elections under order. The country has since 2000 developed into one of the most stable and democratic in the region, but is not recognized by any other state.
Breeding of sheep, goats and cattle is the basis of Somaliland’s economy and livestock exports are one of the country’s most important sources of income. About 60 percent of the population is directly or indirectly dependent on livestock breeding for their livelihood. About a fifth of the inhabitants feed on agriculture, mostly in the eastern part of the country and in the northwest where it rains enough. The most important crops are sorghum, maize, fruits and vegetables. Somaliland also produces olibanum (also called Lebanon resin), an aromatic resin used for incense.
Other important sources of income are money sent home by Somali nationals abroad, according to World Bank estimates of up to half a billion US dollars per year. Tax collection and customs duties from the port of Berbera also provide important income. In 2016, Somaliland signed an agreement with DP World, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to modernize the port of Berbera. Under the agreement, DP World would operate the port for 30 years, with the possibility of extending the agreement after ten years. A new road would also be built to connect the port with the city of Tog Wajaale, on the border with Ethiopia. The settlement was heavily criticized by the Somali government in Mogadishu, especially as Ethiopia had been bought into the project.
Foreign trade is complicated by the fact that the Somaliland shilling is not an internationally recognized currency and has no official exchange rate.
The state and local authorities maintain basic community services such as schools, water and electricity supply. Several telecom companies operate in the country and mobile coverage is quite good.
Tourism is seen as a potential source of income, but the country’s isolation makes it difficult to attract a few large numbers of visitors. Fine beaches, cities with well-preserved colonial settlements, millennial rock paintings and nomadic culture could attract tourists. For the nature enthusiast there are many birds to behold. There are about 15 bird species that are not found anywhere else.
Somaliland has flights with Ethiopia, Djibouti and the United Arab Emirates.