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Somaliland: Empowering Women through ICT



Women’s underrepresentation and lack of access in the ICT Sector is a global issue and it is no different in Somaliland, a conference on this issue has been organized in Hargeisa by Hayaan Haween, a platform designed to address issues that directly and indirectly affect women’s lives.

Attended by a number of intellectuals, women’s organizations, independent local researchers and others, the event focused on challenges facing women in the new technologies and the potential to improve women’s livelihood through ICT and how that impacts the economy in Somaliland.

Khadra Mohamed, host and graduate from Malaysia mentioned the state of technology in Somalilland and explained about the freedom to use the internet with regards to some restrictions on the Social Media platforms. She highlighted how those platforms are blocked or made inaccessible in many countries in Africa and the third world in general.

“I remember in the late 90s seeing broken computers being sent from Jigjiga or Mogadishu to be fixed in Hargeisa” Says Abdirashid I Ibrahim, Founder of Somali Jobs and Co-Founder of Maroodijeeh International University. “In 2000 there was a boom in the establishment of institutions offering technology courses with the first IT degree initiated in 2007” he added.

Abdirashid explained about the rapid development of technology related services in Somaliland potential to improve women’s livelihood through ICT which will have a huge positive impact in the economy. He spoke about the story of Njeri Rionge, a co-founder of the Multi-million Dollar Wananchi Online and her first business where she was selling yoghurt from a car trunk to high school students.

“This is a good example of the power of technology to help shift women from working in the informal sector to formal sectors” said Abdirashid, “You are all here because of technology, a Facebook post or a WhatsApp message is how you learned about this session tonight, right?” he concluded.

Abdulaziz Jama Oumer, a Master of Science in IT (Msc.IT) holder and a PhD candidate cited global statistics from International Telecommunication Union (ITU) depicting unequal access to technology between men and women. “There are no statistics for Somaliland or Somalia” He said highlighting that lack of information exacerbates this problem.

“Not everyone in Hargeisa owns a smartphone, not everyone uses The Internet” said Abdulaziz highlighting the Digital Divide and its limitations. Speaking about the limitless opportunities for women in the digital world, he said people can work from home, create new connections and can also enter the field of technology as professionals. “Sky is the limit” he said.

As for increasing technical knowledge and experience among professional women, he insisted that the only way to tackle the language barrier – perceived as one of the main barriers for young women to enter the ICT sector – is to start with improving the English Language first.

During the event, the panelists agreed that in order to move forward, a National ICT Policy must be developed, a policy that familiarizes girls with ICT.

At the end of the event, networking and mentorship connections were created, also job offers were made by some of the attendees who were previously lacking information about women in ICT. A number of women got an employment opportunity during the session.

From the huge turnout to the event and the comments from the Q&A session, it was evident that this was a topic of great interest for all.

Hayaan Haween “Journey of Women” is a platform founded in Hargeisa, Somaliland to highlight topics that affect women’s lives through raising awareness on critical issues. Previous topics featured on Hayaan Haween include Maternity Health, Literature of Somali Women, Breast Cancer and Mental Health Awareness and The Legend of Queen Arraweelo.  At these monthly events, a panel of experts discuss the topic followed by a Q&A session.

“Founded in May, 2017 this platform has proven to be popular with a growing following of young men and women” said Khadija Abdillahi Sheikh, a Banker, Social Entrepreneur and Co-founder of Hayaan Haween


You can follow Hayaan Haween on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for videos of this session and previous ones @HayaanHaween



Announcement of the Hargeysa International Book Fair and Somali Studies International Congress




11th Hargeysa International Book Fair – 21-26 July 2018, Hargeysa, Somaliland

We are pleased to announce that the 11th Hargeysa International Book Fair  (HIBF) will be held 21-26 July 2018 in Hargeysa, Somaliland. Last year, we celebrated the festival’s 10th anniversary with our chosen theme of Connectivity. This year we start the next decade with the theme of Wisdom. As an organization we have always sort to promote an “open, creative connected and tolerant society led by wisdom”, and not by emotions; a society that has survived within its own mechanism, culture, heritage and knowledge production. From the 9th century Beytul-Hekmi (or Dar’ul-Hekma) in the Islamic Golden Age in Bagdad to the Somali wise men and women who guided the society in the traditional judiciary system, and who governed with authoritative leadership, the virtue of having wisdom as attribute, always gave few people a distinguished mandate to lead. What happened to that virtue? Who are our chosen vanguards today? What do the literature, the traditional oral poetry and arts had to do with the wisdom? Are men of literature loosing their appeal? Do the radical transformation of the Somali society in the recent time deteriorated the essence of wisdom of the ordinary people? These are the questions that we will seek to answer collectively.

Intertwined with this, HIBF2018 will be hosting Somali Studies International Association 23-25 July 2018 (SSIA18), with Somali knowledge production filled by foreign people (something we often ignore) during a period of difficulties of war – it is important to consider how that factor changed Somali literature and how with a young Somali scholars emerging once again to claim their space within Somali knowledge production- this yet again will change and shape our understanding.

Last year we had the privilege of hosting South Africa as our guest country- this year we will welcome Rwanda, a country which less than three decades ago was embroiled in horrific genocide, but which has reemerged as a proud, progressive and leading country in Africa. Rwanda is also reclaiming its narrative and knowledge production and we are pleased to welcome writers, poets and film-makers, but also policy makers and influential people that shaped the recent history of Rwanda.   The parallel between Somaliland’s own difficult recent history and road recovery are many- and with Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame elected as the 2018 chairperson for African Union, it seems that their futures are also intertwined.

We look forward to welcoming each and every one of you to Hargeysa International Book Fair 2018.


Dr. Jama Musse Jama


Hargeysa Cultural Center

20th March 2018


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Press Release: International Observation Mission to Somaliland’s 2017 Presidential Election Launches Final Report




The international election observation mission (IEOM) to the poll on 13 November 2017 assembled 60 observers from 27 countries at the invitation of Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission. The IEOM observed 355 polling stations (22% of the total), across all six regions of Somaliland and 17 of the 21 districts. The IEOM reported a largely peaceful and well-organised polling day in areas observed, albeit with some irregularities, but not of sufficient scale to have impacted the final result. Thus, the violence following polling day—which saw some deaths amid allegations of electoral malpractice—was deeply disappointing.

Says Dr Michael Walls, chief observer of the IEOM:

“Once again, Somaliland called on its admirable tradition of conflict resolution to defuse a potentially dangerous post-election situation. But Somaliland is at a crucial stage: over-reliant on a customary system to solve problems, with the chosen electoral system not yet fully accepted as a means of determining political leadership. Set against a background in which major international deals are pushing the stakes higher, we note the need for renewed commitment to an inclusive politics. We hope Somaliland’s democratic journey will continue peacefully, and move on to the next stage, namely holding its much-delayed parliamentary poll in 2019 as scheduled.”

The IEOM makes a number of recommendations, including: strengthening legal bodies supervising campaigns and elections (especially formal dispute procedures); timely updating of the voter register; improvements to civic education and training for polling staff, political parties and voters; better transparency around the electoral process; that political parties use formal dispute resolution structures, improve female representation and refrain from inflammatory campaigning; legislation to ensure freedom of expression; more state funding for elections; and campaign spending limits for political parties.

The election, Somaliland’s third presidential poll and sixth election overall, saw Muse Bihi Abdi of the Kulmiye party defeat rival candidates from the Waddani and UCID parties. With 55% of the vote, Muse succeeded the retiring incumbent, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud ‘Silanyo’, also of Kulmiye. The election saw the first use of Somaliland’s innovative biometric voter register and the first participation in a Somaliland election of some in the easternmost regions. The IEOM, which was funded by the British government, was led by the Development Planning Unit at University College London, and Somaliland Focus (UK), and project managed by UCL Consultants.


Download the Press Release Here: IEOM Press Release – 7 English

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Somaliland: DP World Berbera Investment to Catalyze Enhanced Peace and Stability




After the President of Somaliland Ahmed Mohamed Siilanyo official invitation from the Ruler of Dubai, UAE. The government of Somaliland engaged in a direct business negotiation with Dubai Ports (DP World).

On Sep 2016, Somaliland government signed an agreement with DP World, which is authorizing the latter to manage and develop the commercial port of Berbera for thirty years. The $440 million deal include expansion of the port and other infrastructure development including highway linking Berbera Port to border with Ethiopia (Tog-Wajale town). The deal sets up a joint venture with 6 percent control together with the government of Somaliland.

This comes after Somaliland showed a political stability and maturity with multi-party democracy striving in a region dominated by civil war and dictatorship. In addition to traditional trade link between the people of Somaliland and Arabian Gulf states.

Undoubtedly, the deal will create jobs and improve the living standard of the people of Somaliland and the region. This will give the landlocked Ethiopia a reliable access to sea, where Somaliland is trusted friend unlike other regional ports. The deal received the support of the elected parliament of Somaliland and it was a hit on the face of those want to hijack the people on poverty and unemployment.

The process of transforming Berbera in to east Africa’s main free trade hub like the UAE’s Jabel Ali Port. The DP World expansion project in Berbera will lead to extensive trade activities, in which Somaliland will control region’s business and trade. Berbera Port will be ready to provide service in helping Ethiopia and South Sudan exporting their natural resources like natural gas and oil.
Today’s world, business interest is the strongest diplomacy where the world will have no option but to recognize Somaliland, as latter will be regional economy power. In other hand, Ethiopia will have loyal friend, Somaliland, who can provide reliable services with seaport access.

In addition to development of Berbera Port, the deal won the Arab world interest in Somaliland on the grounds of ‘an exchange of interest’. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Somaliland received an official invitation from its Egyptian counterpart, where the Somaliland delegation were received with full head-of-state diplomatic reception. The Somaliland Foreign Minister Dr. Saad Ali Shire met with his Egyptian counterpart, and Somaliland Minister of Higher Education met his counterpart during the visit.

Assistant Foreign Minister for African Affairs of Egypt Mohamed Idris expressed the importance of the Somaliland-Egypt relations. Mr. Idris led Egyptian delegation to Hargiesa, capital of Somaliland, in order to solidify the relations. Such Egyptian interest in Somaliland is first of its kind, which showcases a major change in the political attitude towards Somaliland. The below link is about the reports on the latest Egyptian visit to Somaliland: and .

Another remarkable event was the consecutive visits of Somaliland presidents to Kuwait who met the Amir of Kuwait His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed. The State of Kuwait sponsored projects in Somaliland including construction of Berbera Airport Terminal and development of Egal International Airport. The UAE based airline, flydubai, started its direct flight to Hargiesa, and signed an agreement with Ministry of Civil Aviation of Somaliland.

The below links represent the international response to the agreement between Republic of Somaliland and DP World:

1. DP World website
2. Wall street journal
3.Foxnews World
4. maritime news

DP World Wins 30-year Concession for Somaliland Port

6.Gulf news Shipping
7. The international news
8. The National Business
9. African intelligence
10. Dredging today

DP World Signs $442 Million Berbera Port Deal

13. The Load Star Editorial
14. Container Management

DP World wins 30-year concession for port in Somaliland


DP World wins Somaliland port concession

16. reuters
17. Arabian business
18.Lloyds list
Press Release: DP World Wins 30-Year concession for Port of Berbera in Somaliland (05.09.2016)
23.ABC6 news
24.Rose bank killarney Gazette
25.Hastings Tribune
25.Southlands Sun
26.WAND TV or WAND 17
27. Four ways review
28. New castle advertiser
29.Zululand observer
30.northern Natal courier SA
32. Randburg Sun
33.Bedfordview and Edenvale news
34. scottsbluff Star Herald
35.Berea Mail
36. Port Technology
37. Lemonde Afrique
38.KTAR news
46.Radio France international
DP World deal ‘helpful’ to Somaliland’s bid for independe
50.DP World获得索马里兰柏培拉港口特许经营权
51. Port news
DP World получит в 30-летнюю концессию инфраструктуру порта Бербера в Сомалиленде
52. jp.wsj
53. www.Al
موانئ دبي تدير مرفأ بربرة في أرض الصومال…/115283-160601-تري-صوماليلاند
صوماليلاند تريد أن تجعل بربرة مرفأ استراتيجيا بمساعدة دبي
55. I24news TV…/115283-160601-تري-صوماليلاند
تستثمر 1.62 مليار درهم في أرض الصومال
57.middle east online
المشروع المعلن مع جمهورية أرض الصومال بقيمة
مليون دولار ويهدف لتحويل مرفأ بربرة إلى مركز تجاري
“موانئ دبي” تنال امتياز إدارة مرفأ بربرة في أرض الصومال
أعلنت موانيء دبي العالمية الإثنين في بيان للبورصة، فوزها بامتياز يمتد 30 عاماً لإدارة و تطوير ميناء في منطقة أرض الصومال، وبما يحتاج لاستثمارات 442مليون دولار.
60. al arabi
إدارة مرفأ بربرة في أرض الصومال… لـ”موانئ دبي”
“موانئ دبي” تنال امتياز إدارة مرفأ بربرة في ارض الصومال
62.اخبار اليمن
موانئ دبي تستحوذ على مرفأ بربرة في أرض الصومال
63.المغرب اليوم 64.
65- Ethiopian Foreign Policy

Written By: Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi

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