Africa is swinging in a state of hope. People of Somaliland are expecting to see a boost in their chances of being internationally recognized as an independent state. Mary Harper, who is an analyst at BBC writes for Horn of Africa mentions, Somaliland could well end up as the only place in the Horn of Africa that has any form of democratic election at all this year.
Since it has been declared independent, it has not been recognised internationally but functions like any other nation-state. They have their passport, currency, flag, government and army. A 15-year-old girl, Yasmin Abdi, who is eligible to vote now says, she cannot wait to cast her vote and she also feels like a proper grown-up now, almost like she owns part of her country. The country Somaliland turns 30 years old as it marks its birthday on May 18.
The vice-chairman of the governing Kulmiye party, Ahmed Dheere, asserts sentiments by saying that these elections are very significant for the country as they mark sunshine for the Horn of Africa if they have successful polls.
People believe that the turmoil of Ethiopia will attract more eyes towards Somaliland. There could be a possibility of investments through foreign powers and be the rock of relative stability in a highly volatile region. Talking about the economic potential in the region, in 2016, the UAE signed a 30-year deal worth nearly $500m to develop and manage Berbera port, which has been described as the Horn of Africa’s most valuable real estate. There is a road that is being built linking Berbera with Ethiopia, offering the landlocked country an alternative to the congested port in Djibouti.
The country is widely rich in livestock and sheep and camels are prized in Gulf states. Although, millions of animals are exported every year, camels winched up through the air onto ships as sheep and goats flood into them from below. They have a mine of other natural resources as well which includes untapped oil reserves, coal and gemstones. The sea off its long coastline is abundant with fish. Looking at the current scenario, everyone is optimistic about what these elections will do for Somaliland.