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Country Profile

The Republic of Somaliland is situated in the Horn of Africa with boundaries defined by the Gulf of Aden in the North, Somalia in the East and Southeast, the Federal Republic of Ethiopia in the South and West, and the Republic of Djibouti to the Northwest.

Somaliland consists of three topographic zones: coastal plain (Guban), mountain range (Oogo) and plateau (Hawd). The coastal plain “Guban” is between the sea and the mountain range known as “Golis”. This is a narrow and dry strip of land along the coast and is very hot hence the name `Guban’, meaning “the burnt” in Somali. Guban gets narrower towards the East and wider towards the West. The Golis range (Oogo) is the escarpment south of Guban zone and runs along the coastal lines in the North of the country, where the highest peak known as Surad rises up to 2,633 m (7000 ft) above sea level. The Golis Mountains extend from Ethiopia in the West to Sanaag region in the East. There are no perennial rivers in Somaliland; however there are many ephemeral wadis (togs), or dry river beds. These river beds are dry most of the year but are filled with water during the rainy seasons of Gu and Deyr.

Somaliland’s isohyets map indicates that the mean annual rainfall varies from 150 mm in the narrow coastal fringe in the north known as `Guban’ to 500 mm in some South-West areas and in parts of the Golis range of the country. In terms of temperature, there is a great variability depending, generally, on the altitude of the area. The mean annual temperature ranges from 18o C in the higher escarpment of the Golis to 31o C in the northern coastal towns such as Berbera and Zeila. The mean temperature during the summer (Hagaa) is between 34o C and 38o C, the highest recorded temperature being close to 48o C. The mean winter (jiilaal) temperature varies from 15o C to 24o C, and the lowest temperature recorded is -2o C in Erigabo near the Surad Mountain.

Somaliland’s Main Export


The President of Somaliland

H.E Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo

Did you Know

pasted-image-256x312Somaliland became independent from the UK on 26 June 1960. it reasserted its independence following the collapse of the Somali republic, which was created following a voluntary union with former Italian somaliland, on 18 May 1991.
it has maintained a peaceful and stable environment since its independence, and held a number of democratic, free and fair elections.! it is the size of England and Wales Combined.


Population: Approximatly 3.5 million (2008 estimate)

Territory: 137,600 km; 53,100sq miles. Adopted Territorial borders of the former British Somaliland.

President: H.E Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo

Capital: Hargeisa

Major languages: Somali, Arabic and English

Religion: Islam

Airports: 6 in total. Egal International Airport in Hargeisa; Berbera Airport; Burao Airport; Erigavo Airport; Las Anod Airport and Borama Airport.

Currency: Somaliland Shilling

Main Exports:Livestock

Life expectancy: Annual population growth rate is 3.14%. Life expectancy is 49.

Ports: Berbera Port

Political Parties: 3 main parties. Ucid, Wadani and Kulmiye.

Banks: Central Bank of Somaliland

GDP: US$1.4 Bilion (2012 estimate); US$347 per capita

Media: 14 Newspaper, 5 television stations and 1 radio stations.


Somaliland is referred to invariably by the ancient travelers as Berber Land, Punt Land, Coast of Spices and Land of Aroma. Coastal towns in the region such as Zeila and Berbera were in existence as early as the 1st century AD.

A document which dates back to that time, Periplus of the Erythraean Sea – written by a Greek merchant, gives an account of the commercial activities involved with the people in the coastal ports who traded with the Egyptians, Chinese, Persians, Indians and Arabs. Among the products described in the Periplus document and traded by the local traders from Somaliland included – spices, Myrrh, ivory, frankincense, gum and cinnamon. By the second century Arab trading relations were quite well established along the Somaliland coastal regions.


Like other parts of the region, the interest of the Europeans in Somaliland became more strategic after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. The arrival of the British colonial power in Somaliland started after the Berlin Conference in 1884 which resulted in Britain taking control of Somaliland, as a protectorate at a time when France and Italy were also competing for the control of territories in the region. The partition of the Somali populated regions in the Horn of Africa started in earnest after Britain signed treaties with local tribal chiefs in Somaliland in 1887 and thus made this territory a British Protectorate (British Somaliland Protectorate). Somaliland remained a British protectorate from 1887 up until 26th June 1960 when it gained its independence from Britain. Italian Somalia became independent on 1st July 1960 and the same day the two states merged and formed the Republic of Somalia.


During the first nine years after independence (1960 – 1969) some sort of a parliamentary democracy was observed, and democratically elected governments succeeded each other. The military coup d’état led by General Mohamed Siyad Barre suspended the constitution and brought in a martial law. The regime enacted numerous discriminatory policies which resulted in considerable economic, social and political disadvantages against the people of Somaliland. The repressive policies of the regime gave rise to the formation of an armed resistance against the government in the form of the Somali National Movement (SNM) in London on 6th April 1981. A ten year struggle ensued, affecting particularly the two largest towns of Burao and Hargeisa; and resulting in over 1 million displaced peoples. Under the auspices of the SNM, traditional clan leaders organized a number of community conferences (Shir Beeleed) to consolidate peace and reconciliation between different clans, culminating in the regional Grand Conference (25th March to 26th May 1991) which declared the withdrawal from the union with Somalia and reclaimed its independence.

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