The airport of Hargeisa, the capital of the officially the unrecognised Republic of Somaliland, has been refurbished and upgraded over the past years in order to live up to international standards for security, immigration control and handling.
In a new DIIS working paper, Tobias Gandrup (University of Antwerp) describes the contested role of the airport since colonial times and the collapse of the Somali state in 1991.
By analysing the everyday practices of the airport as a way of ‘performing the state’, controlling entry and exit, Gandrup shows how the international standards act as external drivers for the formation of a new state in Somaliland. In this way, the licensed airport also provides a degree of international recognition to Somaliland.
How bureaucrats create fiscal revenue in an unrecognised state
In a new DIIS Working Paper, “On taxes and suspicion: ambivalences of rule and the politically possible in contemporary Hargeisa, Somaliland”, J. Antonio Campos from the University of Chicago explores the world of tax-collectors and fiscal officers in Hargeisa, the capital of the internationally unrecognized Republic of Somaliland.
Based on extensive fieldwork, Campos interprets the interaction between bureaucrats and citizens in terms of “suspicion”, an elaborate feeling of ambivalence among tax officials.
Interestingly, therefore, tax collection in Somaliland can be understood as operating without the recourse to state force. Tax officials come out rather as agents of a common collective project of the new state, thus representing the hope of a political future without coercion.
The WP is part of a new series from the GOVSEA research program (Governing Economic Hubs and Flows in Somali East Africa).