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Can Somaliland’s New President Steer It Toward International Recognition?

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The candidate of Somaliland’s ruling party, Musa Bihi Abdi, was finally declared the new president of this semi-autonomous region of northwestern Somalia late last month, after eight days of counting, recounting and closed-door negotiations between him, his main rival and the National Electoral Commission. Now Bihi faces the task of dealing with Somaliland’s many challenges, most of all turning a nascent democracy and East African success story into a fully functioning and independent state recognized by the world.

The election was declared peaceful and free by both local and international observers, who despite concerns claimed to have “observed a poll that in the main seems to have preserved the integrity of the electoral process.”

But less than 24 hours after the closure of the polls on Nov. 13, Bihi’s main rival in the race, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, the candidate from the opposition Waddani party, complained of irregularities, sparking protests that resulted in several deaths and injuries. Fearing that the situation could escalate further, the electoral commission agreed to a partial recount. Days later, the commission announced Bihi’s victory with 55 percent of the vote. Irro, as Abdullahi is known in Somaliland, won 40 percent. Faisal Ali Waraabe of the For Justice and Development party finished a distant third with about 4 percent of the vote.

Somaliland had once again pulled back from the brink of a possible crisis. “One of the successes of Somaliland has been its relationship between modernity and tradition, and the way it uses traditional means to resolve political issues,” says Mohamed Farah, director of the Academy for Peace and Development, a research institute in Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa. According to Farah, Somaliland’s political system, which incorporates both traditional clan elements and modern political structures, has been key to its ability to manage crises over its 26 years of self-declared but still internationally unrecognized independence.

 

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Academic Researches

Somaliland: First 100 Days of President Muse Bihi Abdi

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As Somaliland held its latest and strongly contested Presidential Elections in November 2017, the new President marked his first 100 days in the office last week. This paper examines President Bihi’s first 100 days in the office and the issues surrounding him from Politics, Economy, Development, International Relations and many others. It gives a detailed background of the situation in Somaliland and analyses the current circumstances through intellectual and legal perspectives.

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Academic Researches

Somaliland’s Foreign Policy Analysis: The First Four Administrations In Perspective

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According to dominant paradigms of international relations theories, a country’s foreign policy consists of the self-interested strategies chosen by the state to protect its national interests, and the deployment of the various tools of diplomacy and statecraft in order to achieve these objectives within the international relations milieu.

Since Somaliland re-asserted its independence on 18 May 1991, its main foreign policy objective has been the attainment of international recognition. Somaliland has made tremendous strides toward this end by building a functional state with all the legal attributes of a modern state. Notwithstanding the enormous challenges Somaliland has faced under the status of being diplomatically unrecognised for the last 27 years, the state apparatus has continued to evolve internally and externally. Somaliland has conducted foreign relations with the international community in its various shapes and forms, and has continued to welcome the international community cooperate on issues such as development, investment, social reform and consular relations inside Somaliland. In the modern international order, the recognition of statehood is administered by a number of different legal, political and economic factors that include (a) a permanent population, (b) a defined territory, (c) a functioning government, and (d) the capacity to enter into populations with other states. Somaliland has a strong case for satisfying all of these conditions.

It is worth acknowledging that successive Somaliland administrations have done an impressive job with respect to Somaliland’s international relations, given the many international and domestic constraints it faces. Nevertheless, observers of Somaliland’s foreign policy over the past 27 years have seen it as a more reactionary and self-explanatory approach (mere differentiation from Somalia), rather than entirely pragmatic.

It is the theme of this paper to examine Somaliland’s foreign policy goals and decision-making as they evolved under the leadership of Somaliland’s previous four presidents. Doing so involves presenting how these respective administrations dealt with Somaliland’s neighbouring states as well as regional and other global organisations. This paper will also focus on the present foreign policy challenges. It will conclude by offering recommendations with respect to current foreign policy arrangements.

 

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About the Author:

Mohamed Abdillahi Duale is a political analyst and independent researcher on Horn of Africa politics, mainly Somaliland’s international relations. He is currently based in United Kingdom, and Saeed Mohamed Ahmed is a social worker and Civil Society activist based in Somaliland and he is currently the Director for Strategy, Research and Innovation Services of Gollis University.

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Somaliland: Researchers Pilot System Using Electrodialysis to Produce Safe Drinking Water

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The demand for cost-effective desalination is increasing with the growing population and the need for safe drinking water, driving continuous innovation in the sector. REvivED water, a pilot project led by FUJIFILM Manufacturing Europe B.V., is focusing on the potential of electrodialysis for desalination applications, both as stand-alone systems and in combination with established desalination technologies.

Electrodialysis can be added as a pre-desalination step to existing Reverse Osmosis systems, increasing their water recovery; more drinking water will be produced from the same amount of seawater with lower energy consumption and at affordable costs. The REvivED water consortium has recently welcomed Trunz Water Systems AG, a Swiss water treatment company with distribution channels across Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Pacific. Trunz Water will build and operate a system in Spain that demonstrates the benefits of combining electrodialysis with Reverse Osmosis for sea water desalination. The test system is expected to be operational by the end of 2018.

The REvivED water project is also developing small scale stand-alone systems for rural areas powered by solar energy. The main target is off-grid applications in developing countries, where brackish water can be converted into safe drinking water. The first such system is under construction and will be tested from May 2018 onwards in Somaliland, Africa, demonstrating the role of electrodialysis in the provision of quality drinking water for the world’s growing population.

 

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