Leaders from Somalia and Somaliland, the unrecognized sovereign region of Somalia, had their first formal conference in London to discuss the future of an internationally recognized sovereign state of Somaliland. Since declaring independence in 1991, the northern region has been relatively peaceful with orderly civilian and political movement whereas the rest of Somalia has been overflowing with conflict. The government of Somaliland, having sought internationally assistance for gaining a stronger legal, economic, and security base, have agreed to continue cooperations with Somalia for squashing the terrorism, violence, famine that plagues much of the region while the negotiations take place.
These discussions have created buzz in the global markets. USAID has already launched an economic growth program by giving a grant worth $1 million to 13 prominent small market entrepreneurs in Somaliland. The receiving beneficiaries were selected after their business plans were judged to be the most promising both for growth and employment. The Growth Program hopes these businesspersons will provide technical, financial and industrial supply innovation with their ventures that will create a lasting impression on the nation’s businesses.
Long-term investment in the de facto sovereign state seems to be the key to insuring not only a solid private sector, but also raising the standard of living for Somaliland’s citizens. With global ties to France and the UK, the region has already begun plans to export livestock and begin mining for any possible metals or minerals.