For Africa: Success by country not on the map

Mohamed Yusef knows a good opportunity when he sees one. Recently the London businessman invested $5 million in Somaliland oil exploration.

But though Somaliland is thought to have large oil resources, Yusef remains one of very few investors. “Everybody I meet recognizes that Somaliland is a great investment opportunity,” he says. “It has lots of mineral resources and a strategic position. But other investors stay away because they worry that officials in Somalia, a failed state, will come and tell them that legal documents in Somaliland aren’t valid.”

Yusef, an attorney, has no concerns that his contracts will be declared invalid. Somaliland’s brief period of independence in 1960 gives business contracts legal validity, he says. Britain and Italy’s Somali colonies merged on July 1, 1960, after a week as separate independent countries.

Even so, the region of 3.5 million people suffers under its legal limbo.

“Somaliland poses an extremely interesting dilemma to the international community,” says John Campbell, a former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria who is now an Africa expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It’s succeeding as a country but is recognized by nobody.”

But by African standards, Somaliland is thriving. “It’s a successful democracy in a part of the world where there isn’t a lot of democracy to celebrate,” notes Roger Middleton, a Horn of Africa specialist at Chatham House, a London think tank. “It’s not as prosperous as Kenya, but it has become a beacon of stability in Africa. And it’s much more successful than the official Somalia, where chaos rules and the government now only controls a couple of square miles.”

But that won’t automatically lead to legal recognition. “Countries outside of Africa will wait to see what the African Union decides,” says Middleton.

“And, given the potential domino effect, the AU is reluctant to give an African region independence.”

‘The name is always under discussion’

Ahmed Mohamud Silaanyo rules a peaceful country with democratic elections, functioning businesses, a police force — even broadband. He’s the president of Somaliland, the region of Somalia that declared independence 19 years ago.

There’s just one problem: No country officially recognizes Somaliland. President Silaanyo, who was elected earlier this year, has made recognition his goal and travels around the world to lobby for his country. He enjoyed the first fruits of his labors earlier this year, when the U.S. announced it will increase aid to Somaliland and send more diplomats there. Metro met Silaanyo:

Why should the international community recognize Somaliland?

We’re democratic, peaceful and cooperate with the international community. And we’re a bulwark against threats coming from Somalia, which are also a threat to the international community. Unfortunately, until now the world hasn’t recognized us. But even though we aren’t recognized, countries like the United States are starting to deal with us. The internationally recognized secession of South Sudan, which is expected on Jan. 9, strengthens our case.

How do the piracy and the chaos in Somalia affect Somaliland?

The danger of violence spreading to our side of the border is always there, and there have
already been several attacks against us. We don’t have any power to change the situation in Somalia. But the international community assists us in keeping the violence away, because this is a war between extremism and the international community.

How does the international community help you? With money or with weapons?

They work with our security forces on the intelligence side. In this sort of war, information is crucial.

Most people confuse Somaliland and Somalia. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to get a new name?

The name is always under discussion, but this has been our name since 1888. We’re an old country. 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Dogs are capable of feeling jealousy - U.S.…

By Curtis Skinner(Reuters) - Dogs are a man's best friend, and research released on Wednesday says canines want to keep it that way.Dogs are capable…

Local

G train riders brace for five-week shutdown

G train service will be suspended between Brooklyn and Queens between Friday, July 25, and Tuesday, Sept. 2.

International

Peaches Geldof's death was drugs-related, coroner rules

LONDON (Reuters) - The death of Peaches Geldof, the daughter of musician and Band Aid founder Bob Geldof, was drugs-related, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.The…

Local

Family, supporters gather in Brooklyn for Eric Garner…

Family members gathered on Wednesday for the funeral of Eric Garner, who died shortly after police put him in a banned chokehold as they arrested him.

Going Out

Where to go drinking on National Tequila Day…

Thursday is just close enough to the end of the week to make you envision yourself already sunning on a beach towel or lounging by…

Going Out

Things to do in NYC this week: July…

Performing arts A 70’s Summer Night Friday, 6:30 p.m. The Green Building 452 Union St., Gowanus $35, 347-529-6473 Party like it’s summer in the 1970s…

Going Out

5 must-try dishes at Edible Manhattan's Good Beer

Rooting out the exotic amid the New York City bar scene is noble quest. But if you’d like to have it all come to you,…

Books

Art imitates life (almost) in David Shapiro's new…

David Shapiro talks about his book, "You're Not Much Use To Anyone."

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

MLB

Brandon McCarthy finds his calling on Twitter

Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy joined Twitter three year ago for the same reason many people do: to get news quickly.

Sports

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost

Food

Recharge with a post-workout smoothie from Nicky Hilton

Some people can roll out of bed right as their alarm goes off. And that alarm isn’t set for 20 minutes before they have to…

Education

Colleges are increasingly embracing the concept of gender-neutral…

  Northwestern University recently made headlines after announcing that it would be installing two gender-neutral bathrooms in the university's student center. “These are two gender-open…

Career

How to prepare to interview for your dream…

    Congratulations! You landed a job interview at your dream company! A lot of hard work has gone into determining which companies to apply…

Style

The shirtdress is a summer must-have

  We love throwing on our boyfriend’s shirt and a pair of jeans (no matter how much he grumbles that it’s his turn to wear the…