Building a country – challenges and success stories

Conference on Post-Secession State Building in Hargeisa, Somaliland

About fifty participants met in Hargeisa, Somaliland to discuss state building and state reconstitution. One of the major issues discussed was how countries like Somalia, Somaliland, Sudan and South Sudan has built and reconstructed their states following split and state collapse.Participants identified the need to establish an adequate framework for understanding the concepts of ‘state building’ and ‘state reconstitution’. The nature and role of various actors is of course important - how the involvements of local, national, regional and international actors influence the process of state building and state reconstitution.

– There are challenges created by problems related to the functionality and sustainability of state institutions. Discussions also focused on the need to find balance between modern institutions and traditional institutions and authorities, says NAI researcher Redie Bereketeab.
Somaliland has successfully combined the two institutions, for example House of Elders ‘Guurti’ and the National Assembly, which was praised by the participants at the conference.

Also noted was the problem of inherited and disputed (arbitrary) borders, which split ethnic/clan communities between neighbouring countries and became a critical factor in state building and state reconstitution as well as peace and stability. An issue that attracted vigorous debate was the relationship between Somalia and Somaliland, how to define the independence declaration of Somaliland, and what the way forward is.

The Conference on ‘Post-Secession State Building: Somaliland, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan’, took place at the University of Hargeisa, Somaliland, 17-18 June, 2013. It was convened by Dr. Redie Bereketeab of the Nordic Africa Institute as part of the research project on ‘Conflict and State Building in the Horn of Africa’ in cooperation with the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), University of Hargeisa.

The workshop was flagged off with an opening address by the president of University of Hargeisa, Dr. Abdi Hussein Gas. Dr Redie Bereketeab gave an overview of the theme of the conference focusing on theoretical and conceptual dimensions. Participants included: politicians, researchers, local and international NGOs, youth and women’s representatives, university students, government and house of elders officials, mass media (radio, TV, newspapers that extensively covered the conference).

Formal conference report (pdf, opens in new window).

A selection of publications on the subject by NAI researcher Redie Bereketeab:

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