Maanta Waa - Today is

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AREA

Somaliland is about the size of England and Wales with an area of 137,600km² (68,000 sq. miles). The major topography features are: The low-lying coastal plains known as the Guban, running some 70 km inland with a very hot summer climate. A high escarpment running east-west parallel to the coast and rising to over 2000m at Eri Gavo. A plateau to the south of the mountains known as Ogo, extending to Ethiopia, with an average altitude of 1200m. Further inland and to the south is the Haud, red sandy plains stretching southwards into Ethiopia, where altitudes fall to some 500m.

CLIMATE

The country has a tropical monsoon type of climate. However, there are four distinct seasons. A main rainy spring season from April to June, followed by a dry summer season from July to September. Then there is a short autumn rainy period from October to November, and finally a long dry winter from December to March. The latter is the most difficult for the animal herding rural population and to the farmers to a lesser scale. If the April-June rains fail the result is a draught that could kill most animals which have already been weakened by the December-March dry season, which also severely hits the country's economy.

Annual average precipitation ranges from less than 1000 mm on the coast to 500 mm inland except for a limited areas where it may reach 900 mm. Rain variability is very high. Hargeisa, the capital, for instance, with a long term average of some 400 mm has recorded variations from 209 to 810 mm per annum.

Temperatures also show some seasonal variations. The winter months are normally cool with average December temperatures in the range of 15 - 26°C, while the summer months are the hottest averaging 26 - 32°C in June.

POPULATION

The population of Somaliland is estimated at around 3.5 million. The average population growth rate is 3.1%. Population density is estimated at approximately 25 persons per sq. kilometre. Fifty-five percent of the population is either nomadic or semi-nomadic, while 45% live in urban centres or rural towns. The average life expectancy for the male is 50 and for females it is 55.

LANGUAGES

Somali is the official language. Arabic and English are the other official languages.

RELIGION

Islam - Sunni.

CAPITAL CITY & MAIN TOWNS

Hargeisa is the capital of Somaliland with an estimated population of 0.3 million. The other main towns are Burao, Borama, Berbera, Erigabo and Las Anod.

HISTORY

The Republic of Somaliland known as the Somaliland Protectorate under the British rule from 1884 until June, 26th 1960 when Somaliland got its independence from Britain. On July 1st 1960 it joined the former Italian Somalia to form the Somali Republic. The union did not work according to the aspirations of the people, and the strain led to a civil war from 1980s onwards and eventually to the collapse of the Somali Republic. After the collapse of the Somali Republic, the people of Somaliland held a congress in which it was decided to withdraw from the Union with Somalia and to reinstate Somaliland's sovereignty.

POLITICAL SYSTEM

The country has a republican form of government. The legislative assembly is composed of two chambers - an elected elder's chamber, and a house of representatives. An elected President and an elected Vice-president head the government. The President nominates the cabinet which is approved by the legislature.

There is an independent judiciary. The current President of the Republic is Mr.Dahir Riyaale. The term of the current government ends in early 2003.

ECONOMY

CURRENCY

The official Somaliland currency is the Somaliland shilling (SlSh). The exchange rate the shilling against the US Dollar in end of December 2000 was:

US$1 = SlSh4,500

IMPORTS & EXPORTS

The backbone of the economy is livestock. The total livestock in the country is estimated at 24 million. In 1996, 3 million heads of livestock were exported to the Middle Eastern countries. The country also exports Hides, Skins, Myrrh and Frankincense in smaller scale.

LIVESTOCK EXPORTS

 

1994
1995

1996

1997

1998

TOTAL

1,779,109

2,780,637

2,484,601

2,926,735

1,071,100

SHEEP

1,685,265

2,683,597

2,376,646

2,808,764

967,224

CATTLE

55,729

75,047

65,127

66,939

92,213

CAMEL

38,025

21,993

42,828

51,032

 

11,663

IMPORTS

Annual imports exceed US$200 million. Principal imports include food commodities, apparel and footwear, fuel, building material, Machinery, vehicles, and chemicals.

AGRICULTURE

Agriculture is less significant. There is, however, a considerable potential for both cereal production and horticulture.

MINING

Mining is limited to quarrying at the moment. There are, however, confirmed deposits of:

Oil, Gas, Gypsum, Lime, Mica, Quartz, Lignite Coal, Lead, Gold, Sulphur.

FISHERY & MARINE RESOURCES

The fishing industry is still underdeveloped, but the country has 600 mile long coast with rich fishing grounds. Somaliland is strategically located at cross roads between Africa, Europe, The Middle East and South East Asia. In 1996 up to 846 vessels called on Berbera port on the Red Sea which has the potential to develop into a major commercial centre.

HEALTH

In1999 , the number of Health centres was 44 and these can be found in most districts. Several private clinics (some catering for inpatients) are also functioning.

Currently a new hospital is under construction in Hargeisa specialising exclusively in the treatment of for women & children. This hospital is expected to open in July 2000 and will be run by a Trust Charity. This hospital is initiated and funded by a Somali Nurse with other contributions.

EDUCATION

There are 163 primary schools with student population of 33,000 as per the no of teachers in primary education in the same educational year 1996/97 was 954. Several private schools catering for primary, secondary and vocational trainings exist. TWO universities have been opened in Somaliland during the last few years.