Despite the fact that Somalia is placed among the world’s main recipients of foreign aid, the internationally endorsed autonomous region of Somaliland falls short of such financial support, since it has not been granted the official status of a sovereign state.
The dramatically divergent paths that Somalia and Somaliland took after a struggle led the latter to become a self-declared state in 1991 run counter to the conventional notions of the factors that drive successful peace processes and, perhaps more importantly, spur development actors to re-think the needs of post-conflict situations.
More than two decades after the collapse of the Somali central government, Somalia continues to be a major recipient of foreign aid. Official development assistance to Somalia amounted to $5.4 billion from 2003 to 2012, with the proportion of ODA given as humanitarian aid averaging 68 percent in the same period. According to Global Humanitarian Assistance, Somalia was the second-largest recipient of humanitarian aid in 2011, when humanitarian assistance to the country peaked at $1.1 billion.
On the other hand, Somaliland, which is internationally recognized as an autonomous region of Somalia, continues to be unable to receive direct foreign aid because of its lack of an official status as a sovereign state.
During its early years, Somaliland rejected international assistance, which the breakaway territory considered tied to the U.N. state-building project in Somalia. In an interview with author Rebecca Richards in “Understanding Statebuilding: Traditional Governance and the Modern State in Somaliland,” Abdullahi Duale, Somaliland’s former minister of foreign affairs, recalled that he and other leaders in Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital, told Admiral Jonathan Howe, then the commander of the U.N. operations in Somalia, “Thank you, but we don’t need your help.”