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Wasted Three Decades for Seeking Somaliland’s Recognition: Critical Assessment on Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Institutional Mechanisms

By: Abdifatah Ahmed Ileeye


De facto states are often marginalized internationally, even in instances where they successfully manage to control their semi-autonomous jurisdictions and provide certain public services to their citizens. Globally, their sovereignty remains unrecognized. This can be attributed in part to the parent state’s reluctance to acknowledge the de facto state’s independence – the declaration of which is often contested – and the international subjectivity on the de facto state’s nationhood. In addition, the institutional capacity of the de facto state’s foreign affairs function and its potential to have international influence are also factors that weigh on recognition as an independent state. This paper assesses the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s (MoFA&IC) institutional mechanisms based on the conceptual framework which consists of the foreign policy document, key legislations, lobbying strategy document, and foreign policy evaluation framework.  The paper found that the MoFA&IC of Somaliland lacks some key institutional mechanisms including a foreign policy document. Such deficiency at the institutional level negatively affects the institution’s capacity to have impactful influence towards the international system and jeopardizes its ability to effectively seek recognition, or at least affiliation with a patron state which can advance Somaliland’s aspiration for recognition.

1. Introduction

Somaliland gained its independence from Great Britain in June 26, 1960. Only five days later, Somaliland and Somalia voluntarily formed Somali Republic, which lasted thirty years, until 1991 when Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia, and after the collapse of the Somalia’s central authority. After a series of nation-building, state-building, and democratization processes, Somaliland established a relatively functioning constitutional and democratic governance system. This led to the adoption of the constitution, two successful House of Representatives elections through the multiparty political system and also through a public one-person-one-vote process. In the same period, five different presidents have ruled Somaliland where three of whom were directly elected and subsequently made a peaceful transfer of power. The country also established state organisations including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation which manages Somaliland’s foreign affairs on one hand, and expected to realize Somaliland’s recognition as a sovereign state in the international system on the other.

Despite the fact that Somaliland has relatively succeeded in managing its internal sovereignty and undergone a democratization process through the adoption of a multiparty system, it still remains a de facto state, more than thirty years after its declaration of independence. Furthermore, Somaliland is not a member of the global financial institutions which include the Bretton woods system; the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Neither is it a member of regional bodies such as the African Union (AU) or the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). This raises a pertinent question; why has Somaliland remained a de facto state thirty years after declaring independence; and why hasn’t the country convinced at least one patron state that could recognize its sovereignty and advance its quest for recognition at the regional and international bodies? First and foremost, this question calls for a critical enquiries from different angles in order to identify and define the existing internal and external political, economic and institutional challenges on one hand; and to come up with evidence-based policies and strategies to counter those challenges on the other.

Many papers covering a wide range of Somaliland’s nation-building, state-building, and democratization processes and its de facto status have been published (See Bradbury 2008; Pegg 1998; Berg and Pegg 2016; Jonathan Paquin, 2010; Roland Marchal, 2018; International Crisis Group 2009, 2015, 2019; Smaker and Johnson 2014; Kibble and Walls 2010; Tansey 2011; Rudincova and Hoch 2015; Pegg 2017 etc).

However, based on the literature review conducted, there is a literature gap on the critical institutional assessment of Somaliland’s public institutional mechanisms[1] in general and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in particular.

Therefore, this paper seeks to answer the question, ‘to what extent has the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation demanded the establishment of fundamental institutional mechanisms and to what extent have those mechanisms been operationalized? The study argues that Somaliland’s internationally contested sovereignty and Somalia’s refusal to acknowledge Somaliland’s restored independence are not the only factors that result in Somaliland’s prolonged absence of de jure recognition and exclusion from the international financial institutions. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s lack of institutional mechanisms including foreign policy document, which weaken its institutional capacity, is a contributing factor too.

For the methodological perspective, the study is a qualitative one. A comprehensive literature review is undertaken so as to develop a deductive relevant framework for analysis. Regarding the data collection, the primary data is collected through Key Informant Interviews from officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, a desk review on the available relevant documents and platforms is also undertaken in order to generate the other supportive evidences.

The paper is structured as follows: The first section is a brief introduction and background to the study, while the justification for a written foreign policy document is discussed in the second section. The challenges arising from the absence of the Somaliland foreign policy document are analysed in the third section, while the fourth section presents the gaps in the key institutional legislations. The fifth section is a discussion about the absence of a lobbying strategy document. The sixth and seventh sections present the foreign policy evaluation framework and the conclusion of the paper, respectively. Finally, the study makes some recommendations in the last section.   

2. Rationale for a Foreign Policy Document

Somaliland is a de facto state. According to Scott Pegg’s, “the de facto state is a secessionist entity that receives popular support and has achieved sufficient capacity to provide governmental services to a given population in a defined territorial area, over which it maintains effective control for an extended period of time” (Pegg, 1998). These states, as the literature shows, are peculiar in the way they are perceived on one hand and their interaction with international sovereign states on the other. Although the contested states might achieve relative self-rule and internal sovereignty, they have failed to gain de jure recognition from the other sovereign states or, at best, recognized by some states. As a result, de facto states are either in precise isolation or  have a restricted recognition and constrained engagement with the international system (Caspersen, 2010).

From the specific forms of nation-building, state-building and democratization in de facto states, five factors shape the formation and development of the states. First, de facto states are considered the victorious side of the civil war that resulted in their establishment. Second, a de facto state with ethnically homogenized residents is established through forcible population displacement. Third, a prolonged absence of international recognition renders the military victory of the contested state precarious and existentially insecure, even many decades later. Fourth, de facto states are open to international normative pressure to behave in certain ways. Finally, most de facto states (with the exception of Somaliland case) depend significantly on support and assistance from an external patron state (Caspersen, 2008; Kolstø, 2006; Pegg, 2017).

With the exception of the first two factors – the one relating to the historical narrative and the one based on the nation-building process, the other three elements explicitly reflect the extent to which a de facto state needs to have a comprehensive and responsive foreign policy that can effectively and efficiently address its key national interests. The term “national interest” has been basically used by statesmen and scholars to describe the key political, social, security, and economic survival and development goals of the nation-state in the international arena. The exact attributes of national interest and its meaning are discussed differently in academia, military strategies, and foreign ministries. It is therefore ambiguous in the art of diplomacy and the study of international politics. Nevertheless, from general perspective, four fundamental national interests are considered by the sovereign states as follows (Nuechterlein, 1979):

  1. Defence interests: the protection of the nation-state and its citizens against the threat of physical violence directed from another state, and/or an externally inspired threat to its system of government.
  2. Economic interests: the enhancement of the nation-state’s economic well-being in relations with other states.
  3. World Order interests: the maintenance of an international political and economic system in which the nation-state may feel secure, and in which its citizens and commerce may operate peacefully outside its borders;
  4. Ideological interests: the protection and furtherance of a set of values which the people.

In other words, the national interest components consist of physical survival, economic prosperity and political sovereignty (Roskin, 1994). Contested states are different from recognized states: they lack recognition of their political sovereignty (Pegg, 1998). Therefore, one of the national interest priorities of the de facto states is to obtain external sovereignty from the de jure states in the international system.

From a theoretical perspective, recognition of sovereignty leads to the prioritization of the national interests depending on the way it’s theoretically defined; declaratory or constitutive theory. The declaratory theory posits that,an entity that possesses minimum characteristics of statehood (a territory, population, government and a capacity to maintain relations with other states) is automatically a state and an international subject – recognition  can only mark the   willingness of other states to have relations with it’. The constitutive theory on the other hand states that,an entity is ‘constituted’ as a state and international subject through the actions of other members of the international community recognizing it as a state’ (Vidmar, 2012). However, the primary national interests of a given de facto state in the international system, and how that state defines the recognition and its meaning to the statehood, constitute and frame its foreign policy, as the sum of external relation, of the state (Hill, 2003). So, a foreign policy document should be developed in order:

  • To identify and formulate the decision-making guiding principles for Somaliland’s external relations;
  • To propose the required key institutional mechanisms regarding the foreign service of the state so that the national interests are effectively protected;
  • To prevent any sort of ambiguity towards the state’s primary national interests that reflect the short and long term development, economic development and political sovereignty of the state;
  •  To provide uniformed familiarization on national interests, foreign policy objectives and strategic direction to the foreign service personnel; and
  • To systemically and strategically prevent and manage the regional and global threats against the interests of the state.

3. Somaliland’s lack of a Foreign Policy Document – Three Decades On

Somaliland’s foreign affairs are institutionalized through obligational approach of institutional legalization (Amenta & Ramsey, 2009). According to article 40 of the Law 71/2015 (Law on delineation of the government organization and independent public bodies[2]), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Somaliland was established to administer and lead the Somaliland external relation in the international arena. The law frames the mandate of the ministry and assigns specific institutional duties. When it comes to the foreign policy, more specifically, paragraph 12 of the article 40 of this legislation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has the responsibility to formulate and develop the Somaliland Foreign Policy at regional and international level. Such assertion implies two significant propositions; first, the issue of the foreign policy formulation is obligatory. In this regard, the ministry should design, formulate and develop a foreign policy to act as a basis for decision making on Somaliland’s external relations. Second, having a detailed and structured foreign policy at regional and international levels requires the ministry to have a written foreign policy document.

Somaliland has been going through a nation-building, state-building and democratization process since 1991. Remarkably, five different presidents—Abdirahman Ahmed Ali, Mohamed H. I. Egal, Dahir Riyale Kahin, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Silanyo) and Muse Bihi Abdi ruled Somaliland in more than three decades. Regarding the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Ciise Kayd, the current minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, is the 15th minister to lead the ministry since its establishment. However, the Somaliland Ministry of Affairs lacks a finalized foreign policy document that guides the decision-making processes on Somaliland external relations. 

Despite a draft foreign policy document being introduced by the 13th minister of foreign affairs, Dr. Sacad Ali Shire, none of the five different administrations has succeeded in formulating and implementing a finalized written foreign policy document that shapes decision-making on Somaliland’s external relations in the regional and international arena”, MoFA&IC officer stated in an interview.

Similarly, one of the heads of Somaliland representative offices was also asked in a key informant interview if they have a foreign policy document which shapes the decision-making process in the Foreign Service. He states:

Basically, there is a top-bottom hierarchical decision-making structure which shapes the strategic and policy directions of the ministry. [We] follow and implement those given directions. However, there is no finalized foreign policy document so far”, a diplomat from Somaliland MoFA&IC said in an interview.

The decision-making processes in foreign policy are intricate, with a myriad of short and the long term outcomes (Cimbala, 1973). Such complexity arises from multi-dimensional internal and external factors including the rapid global political, economic, social, geopolitical, and technological transformation and dilemma on one hand, and the ambiguity of the term “national interest” in the art of diplomacy and the study of international politics on the other. National interest thus needs to be clearly defined in a foreign policy document. Furthermore, de facto states which are not officially recognized can arguably suffer more due to the intricacy and unpredictability of the foreign policy decision-making processes (Pegg, 1998). MoFA&IC’s lack of a foreign policy document jeopardizes the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ institutional capacity to fulfil its mandate. First, the absence of a foreign policy document implies that there is lack of precisely and scientifically defined and prioritized national interests related to the economic prosperity and political sovereignty of the de facto state. Second, there are different foreign policy models (independent foreign policy, complaint foreign policy (Kosovo) and outsourcing foreign policy) that could be adopted by a given de facto state to secure its fundamental prioritized national interests (Keil and Stahl, 2014). So, Somaliland’s lack of empirical-based foreign policy indicates that such models were not considered, hence the lack of a strategically chosen model that would lead to the realization of to the national interests.  Third, it also points to the lack of consistent foreign policy objectives at regional and international level which would ideally shape the Somaliland’s external relations based on the prioritized national interests. Such assertion does not denote an absence of the top-bottom leadership ad hoc decision-making on the foreign relations. Likewise, it does not evaluate the outcomes from the current or the previous decisions made. However, it denotes the lack of systemic institutional design, and the operationalization of a policy-based decision-making approach.

On the other hand, article 40 of the Law 71/2015, the law on delineation of the government organization and independent public bodies is the only parliamentary act which frames the mandates of the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. This article consists of only thirteen paragraphs which illustrate the obligations of the institution. Since Somaliland is a de facto state and still lacks its de jure recognition, seeking the external sovereignty of the state should have been one of the primary responsibilities of the ministry, but none of the thirteen paragraphs of the article state that the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has the legal duty to seek the country’s de jure recognition from the UN Member states of the General Assembly. From a legal perspective, surprisingly, it implies that the recognition issue is not a part of the MoFA&IC’s institutional obligations.

4. Gaps in the Key Institutional Legislations

A State consists of institutions with unique political missions, functions, responsibilities, and roles. These institutions structure relationships between; the government and the citizens or subjects, social relations among different groups of citizens or subjects, and interaction with other states (Amenta & Ramsey, 2009). In accordance with Abbott, Keohane, Moravcsik, Slaughter and Snidal’s theoretical propositions, public institutions of the modern nation-states are established through legalization approaches. These processes ensure that such institutions have uniform sets of characteristics grouped into three qualities; precision, delegation, and obligation. Precision means that rules unambiguously define the conduct they require, authorize, or proscribe. Delegation refers that third parties have been granted authority to implement, interpret, and apply the rules; to resolve disputes; and (possibly) to make further rules. Obligation denotes that states including its institutions or other actors are legally bound by a law (Abbott, Keohane, Moravcsik, Slaughter and Snidal, 2000). Similarly, Max Weber’s theory on legitimization of power in general and the legal rationalization in particular denotes that the institutions are ruled by law, so as to legitimize their exercise of power (Moore & Sterling, 1987).

First, this approach implies that the institutional policies and structures have to be basically rationalized. Second, it proposes the legalization of the rationalized ideas through formal processes of enacting laws so that public institutional interventions are guided by the law. This is where institutional legitimacy in the modern democratic nation-state comes out. In addition, the specifications of the institutional mandate and the scope of work are also framed by its legislations in order to avoid mismanagement, negligence of public duty, and overlap of responsibilities in the public institutions. So, states establish a ministry of foreign affairs to manage its external relations in the international arena based on legislations that frame the institutional mandate to be fulfilled. This ministry handles such duty through diplomatic missions, consular offices, representative offices, liaison offices or cultural offices. Below are the fundamental institutional legislations for a ministry of foreign affair according to Keil and Stahl; and Marleku (Keil and Stahl, 2014; Marleku, 2013):

  1. The law on Foreign Service
  2. The Law on Consular Service of Diplomatic and Consular Missions;
  3. The Law on Governing the Employment of Diplomatic and Consular Personnel;
  4. Regulation on Foreign Service;
  5. Regulation on Consular Service.

4.1. The law on Foreign Service

This law legally shapes the entire foreign service of a given state. It describes the management of the Foreign Service including leadership, regulation of institutional structure, delegation of functions, and the creation of the required board of Foreign Service. It is the one which defines the scope and number of appointments that the president and the minister of foreign affairs are entitled to nominate. It also administers the recall and reemployment of the career members, as well as handling the arrangement of the Foreign Service positions and agencies. Similarly, the law on Foreign Service establishes the career development institutions including training centers for diplomats, and frames the Foreign Service retirement. In fact, this legislation is enormously significant to the establishment of the required institutional mechanisms so as to fulfil the mandate of the ministry of foreign affairs.

Somaliland external relations are run without a Foreign Service Act. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been functioning for the last three decades and engaging with other states and non-state actors. It handles the state’s external relations and has established different Representative Offices in a number of countries including the USA, the UK, the UAE, Ethiopia, Taiwan and Sweden. In fact, different personnel, including diplomats, have been working in each Representative Office. Despite the fact that all the laws approved so far by the Somaliland Parliament since the Somaliland declaration of independence have been reviewed[3], the law on Foreign Services has never been drafted and submitted to the parliament for possible approval. This indicates that the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs lacks a key institutional mechanism which would has been legally managed the institutional leadership, structure, operations, career development and support of the members of the diplomatic service. In fact, this jeopardizes the institution’s capacity to influence the international system.

4.2. The Law on Consular Service of Diplomatic and Consular Missions

Consular personnel perform a variety of functions of principal interest to their respective sending countries including issuance of travel documents, attending to the difficulties of their own nationals who are in the host country, and generally promoting the commerce of the sending country (US State department, 2018). In this regard, the law on Consular Service of Diplomatic and Consular Missions guides the whole consular service undertaken by the consular post or diplomatic mission. Basically, this legislation is in line with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations adopted in 1963 (US State department, 2018).  Based on the reviewed laws approved by the Somaliland Parliament, the law on Consular Service of Diplomatic and Consular Missions of Somaliland has neither been drafted and submitted to the parliament nor approved. This denotes, similarly, that the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs lacks a key institutional mechanism which would legally administer its consular services in diplomatic and consular missions.

4.3. The Law on Governing the Employment of the Diplomatic and Consular Personnel

There is increasing agreement amongst scholars and practitioners that diplomacy in the late 20th and early 21st centuries is changing, and changing fast. Such dynamism often centers on shifts in the balance of global powers in geopolitical affects since the end of the Cold War. Similarly, the effect of the accelerating globalization and a rise in regionalism on diplomatic practice is also a factor. In addition, the speedy transformation of technology leading to the emergence of digital diplomacy plays its significance role as well (Bjola and Holmes 2015; Kerr and Wiseman 2013). In this regard, diplomacy first entails an engagement with the notion of profession. It also includes an account of the sedimentation of professional claims as to skills exclusivity and expertise on international relations, diplomatic interventions and multiculturalism. So, there is a need for developing new skills, new methods, and new partnerships for the effective working of national and supranational diplomatic services which are tasked with the management of complex regional and global problems.

In such a new context, new skills such as social media and digital literacy, transnational networking beyond traditional coalition building, remote sensing, data-mining, visual translation, Logical Framework Approach (LFA), Results Based Management (RBM), Right Based Programming (RBP), or information gathering through crowdsourcing, amongst other techniques, are becoming increasingly common in diplomatic practice. All over the world, diplomacy is a highly regarded profession, and requirements for admission—frequently included ‘proper’ social origin and qualifications. That process allowed for some minor national differences to survive, primarily in terms of formal conditions for recruitment and career development of professional diplomats (Bagger 2015). Such exclusively required professionalism in the diplomatic sphere demands a law governing the employment of diplomatic and consular personnel so as to train and hire professional diplomats and diplomatic staff that can conduct the complex diplomatic tasks at regional and global levels. More importantly, despite the contested states’ lack of external sovereignty and their keenness to effectively influence the policies of the other recognized states, they have to adopt a professional based recruitment approach guided by specific laws on employment of diplomatic and consular personnel.  

In the Somaliland case, the specific law that would manage the staffing process of the diplomatic and consular personnel is not approved by the House of Representatives[4]. As one of the MoFA&IC senior officers stated in an interview, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation employs the Civil Servant Act for the employment of its staff. This law guides the entire employment processes throughout the public institutions in general, but does not specifically regulate the diplomatic and consular personnel so as to hire the right people to the right position in the Foreign Service. In fact, such legislative gaps which damage the institutional capability are not perceived as an isolated issue. This is a consequence of the lack of a foreign policy document which would have outlined the requirements for professional diplomatic and consular personnel and proposed the relevant legislation needed. 

5. The Absence of a Lobbying Strategy Document

The de facto states, as they lack their external sovereignty, use lobbying firms and individual lobbyists to influence state policies and advocate for the attainment of the prioritized national interests including survival, political sovereignty including recognition, and economic prosperity (Roskin, 1994). The lobbying interventions sometimes fail to influence the target policy outcomes due to various reasons. In some cases, lobbyists are very active in attempting to influence policymakers and the other influential actors, but their strategies are not comprehensive, consistent, or effective in a way in which they can substantially affect policy outcomes. In contrast, in some other cases, lobbyists are not adequately competent and they exert limited efforts to influence policy outcomes (Bruycker & Beyers, 2000). In both cases, such failure can be strategically prevented through the development of a well-studied, strategically analysed and consistently formulated lobbying strategy document.

Although Somaliland undertakes different lobbying activities through different approaches including hiring lobbyists, the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation still lacks a comprehensive lobbying strategy document that can systemically manage its lobbying interventions in order to primarily seek the external sovereignty and enhance its diplomatic engagement with the hegemonic powers of the world. One of the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials stated in a key informant interview:

Yes, we use different lobbyists to do various lobbying activities in different platforms, institutions and with officials. Mostly, we deal with them on a contractual basis in order to implement specific issues related to our external relations. Regarding the lobbying strategy document, it is not available yet”, MoFA&IC officer

A national strategy for digital diplomacy, as a lobbying strategy component, becomes a well-known, low-cost and relatively effective approach to globally spread information on the country’s political, cultural and economic developments through online platforms. It promotes the national image and attracts international investors and tourists. Nonetheless, Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs has its own website ( This online platform is still under construction and lacks adequate political, economic, cultural and historical information that can influence foreign audiences. However, the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs should develop a comprehensive, multidimensional, consistent and impact-oriented lobbying strategy document tailored with the defined national interests and foreign policy objectives. First, this document would help the institution to avoid expensive lobbying interventions that might end up with failure or little impact. Second, it would promote the accomplishment of the institution’s foreign policy objectives in a strategically coordinated manner.

6. The Absence of a Foreign Policy Evaluation Framework 

Public policies, including foreign policy, are designed, formulated, and implemented to accomplish certain objectives. To objectively evaluate policies and measure their effectiveness and efficiency, there should be a relevant evaluation mechanisms in place, including independent evaluative bodies and policy evaluation frameworks tailored with the key relevant measurable indicators which be able to measure the extent to which a given foreign policy being effective and efficient. The term “effective” denotes the logical framework of the policy which consists of input, activities, expected outputs and outcomes or goals. The term “efficient” is related to the economic cost-benefit analysis (Gasper, 2006). However, the foreign policy evaluation framework is not an independent mechanism which can be separately formulated and operationalized. It is, first and foremost, dependent on the prevailing foreign policy document, the implementation of which is subjected to evaluation. In fact, as long as the foreign policy document is non-existent, the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is consequently lacking the foreign policy evaluation framework, too. This raises this inquiry: how the interventions which have been undertaken by the MoFA&IC of Somaliland are empirically evaluated, and how their effectiveness, efficiency and impact are measured?


Somaliland has relatively succeeded to manage its internal sovereignty and adopted one of the most acknowledged democratic governance systems in Africa in general and the Horn of Africa, a fragile and hostile region, in particular. Similarly, Somaliland has been engaging with the international community in different programs for the last three decades. In contrast, after thirty years from Somaliland’s declaration of independence, Somaliland is still a de facto state and lacks its external recognition of its sovereignty. The reason behind the prolonged lack of recognition can be attributed to many factors with different magnitudes including the way in which Somaliland perceives Somalia when it comes to seeking de jure recognition, and the international subjectivity on Somaliland’s statehood status. However, the study assessed the institutional mechanisms of the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in order to assess the institutional capacity as outlined in the ministry’s foreign policy document, legislations, lobbying strategy document and foreign policy evaluation framework. Based on the indicators of the conceptual framework, the six institutional mechanisms assessed so far are not in place at all. This means the institution has been lacking its backbone for more than thirty years, and, in fact, its institutional capacity has been strongly jeopardized. Isn’t it questionable: how such paralyzed institution can seek and expectably succeed to the realization of Somaliland de jure recognition? The fact is: Somaliland’s thirty years of seeking recognition is now a wasted time and resources.  So, the issue related to Somaliland’s contested international subjectivity and Somalia’s refusal to acknowledge Somaliland’s restored independence are not the only factors resulted Somaliland’s prolonged absence of de jure recognition. In accordance with the assessment, the weakened institutional capability is also contributing, too.   


There is a direct relation between the institutional mechanisms and the institutional capacity to deliver its mandates while observing legitimacy, professionalism, effectiveness and efficiency. The study recommends that:

  • A comprehensive foreign policy which guides the decision-making of the Somaliland’s external relation should be developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation;
  • The law on foreign service, the law on consular service of diplomatic and consular missions and the law on governing the employment of the foreign service personnel should be developed and approved by the Somaliland Parliament;
  • A well-studied lobbying strategy document should be produced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation so as to guide the lobbying interventions to make sure they are effective and efficient;
  • A precise and detailed foreign policy evaluation framework should be developed by the Ministry through the establishment of an independent body which can conduct such policy evaluation;
  • A critical institutional assessment should be undertaken by the Somaliland Good Governance and Anti-corruption commission so as to identify and counter such fundamental gaps on the institutional mechanisms;
  • Adequate financial resources should be allocated to the Ministry so as to deliver its duties in the above-mentioned institutional mechanisms.

About the author

Abdifatah Ahmed Ileeye is researcher and consultant specializing in governance and sustainable development in the Horn of Africa. He has written extensively on a wide range of topics related to governance, public policy, institutional development as well as in the humanitarian and development sector. His research interests emphasize on institutional development in Somaliland. He also studies the effectiveness and efficiency of Somaliland’s local municipalities and governance. Abdifatah received his M.A in Governance and Public Policy from the University of Passau, Germany. He also obtained his B.A in Global Studies and International Relations from New Generation University, Hargeisa, Somaliland. He is currently based in Kassel, Germany. Mr. Ileeye can be reached @


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[1] The term “Institutional mechanisms” refers the policy, legislations, strategy and policy evaluation frameworks of the institution.

[2] See the act from the solicitor general’s website:

[3] See the solicitor general’s official website:

[4] See the solicitor general’s official website:

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints of Somaliland Chronicle, and its staff.

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President of Somaliland Dismisses US Concerns Over Ethiopia-Somaliland MoU as “Baseless”

In an interview with the Financial Times, the President of the Republic of Somaliland, Muse Bihi Abdi has dismissed concerns raised by the United...

Emirates Policy Center Report – Islamic State Expansion in Puntland Ignites Fresh Jihadist Infighting in Somalia

A report published by the Emirates Policy Center (EPC) states that the Islamic State (ISIS) is strengthening its foothold in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region....

China Lashes Out Over Somaliland’s Taiwan Ties, Embassy Statement Lays Bare Diplomatic Contradictions

China has reacted with hostility after a high-level delegation from the Republic of Somaliland attended Taiwan's Presidential inauguration ceremony in Taipei. Its embassy in...