The Remarkable Story of Somaliland

Issue Date July 2008
Volume 19
Issue 3
Page Numbers 143-157
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The chaos in Somalia has obscured a remarkable political development in the country’s north. Somaliland, the secessionist northwestern slice of Somalia which declared its independence in 1991, has held three consecutive competitive elections since 2001, has a parliament controlled by opposition parties, and boasts a burgeoning economy propelled by the private sector. The key to its success—the integration into politics of traditional Somali models of governance by consultation and consent—provides a contrast to the standard development paradigm in the West.

About the Author

Seth Kaplan is a business consultant to companies in developing countries as well as a foreign-policy analyst. His book Fixing Fragile States: A New Paradigm for Development (2008), critiques Western policies in places such as Congo (Kinshasa), West Africa, Syria, and Pakistan, and lays out a new approach to overcoming the problems they face. For more information, see

View all work by Seth Kaplan