Political Settlements and State Formation in Somaliland

When the breakaway region of a troubled country achieves considerably more peace, stability and prosperity than its parent state, a closer look is essential. How has the internationally unrecognised ‘Republic of Somaliland’ managed to escape Somalia’s cycle of economic malaise and political violence? 

Somaliland made its declaration of self-determination in 1991. What followed as it absented itself from the civil wars that continued to rage in the rest of Somalia is examined by this DLP-commissioned study. 

The study finds that the most enduring institutions earn their legitimacy from home-grown political and social processes, which are largely shaped by the leadership process. What made Somaliland’s leadership ‘different’? One key fact was the knowledge that, given Somaliland’s unrecognised status, there was no funding to be had from international actors. But also – so frequently a finding of DLP research – quality secondary education had created an elite with shared networks and developmental values.

 

Researcher: Sarah Phillips (University of Sydney)

Related items

The inclusiveness test: making change work

Institutions that are inclusive of the broader population - and not just of elites - are an integral part of peaceful, prosperous and resilient states. Guest post for openDemocracy.

Opinion by Alina Rocha Menocal 4th November 2015

Parliamentary strengthening: the IDC report

Parliaments - and the political parties that populate them - are the institutions people trust least. Guest post for ODI's Shaping Policy for Development blog.

Opinion by Tam O'Neil 9th February 2015

Authoritarianism, democracy and development

What does the evidence say about whether giving aid to a high-achieving authoritarian regime makes good developmental sense? 

Opinion by Tim Kelsall 27th November 2014

Reforming FIFA: what can we learn from experience with (other) corrupt autocrats?

FIFA may not be a developing nation, but international football has its own complex political economy. Guest post for From Poverty to Power.

Opinion by Paul Jackson and Heather Marquette 11th June 2015

What's in a name? Leadership as more than the 'big men' and 'big women' of history

A more nuanced understanding of good developmental leadership demands a shift away from the conventional focus on 'big' individuals.

Opinion by Heather Lyne de Ver 11th February 2014

Education against the odds: the work of a women's coalition in Papua New Guinea

PNG's BPW Port Moresby, a case study for a DLP research project, is an impressive example of local women networking without donor assistance to advance gender equity.

Opinion by Ceridwen Spark 14th January 2016

Service delivery and state legitimacy: For better or for worse?

DLP research fellow Claire Mcloughlin challenges the widely held assumption that there is a self-reinforcing 'virtuous circle' between service delivery and state legitimacy. 

Opinion by Claire Mcloughlin 24th November 2015

DLP political settlements workshop: reflections

A practitioner considers how the intangible nature of power can be discussed and included in a policy framework. 

Opinion by Astrid Jamar 22nd July 2015

What's so 'African' about African leadership?

Does a focus on 'African' leadership obscure the rich and diverse nature of Africa's many states and get in the way of useful lessons from other parts of the world?

Opinion by Suda Perera 1st April 2014

The challenge of realising Pacific democracies' development potential

Bringing to the fore some of the unique problems faced by the Pacific region.

Opinion by Julien Barbara 8th July 2016

What do we do on Monday? Political settlements in theory and practice

Can donors, researchers, policymakers and practitioners all agree on what we mean when we talk about 'political settlements'?

Opinion by Edward Laws 15th July 2015

Higher education in the post-2015 agenda: proof that it matters

Taking stock of recent research evidence that shows how higher education can feed into political stability and civil engagement.

Opinion by Susy Ndaruhutse 11th September 2014

It's all about inclusion, but how?

Shifting the focus of development intervention from form to the actual practice and distribution of power. (Guest post for the World Bank Governance for Development blog)

Opinion by Alina Rocha Menocal 6th April 2016

Climate change and adaptation in the Pacific Islands: watering down women's security?

Beyond 'adaptability'? In this guest post, Nicole George highlights the work of women leaders who are challenging a narrow adaptation agenda.

Opinion by Nicole George 7th March 2014

Indonesia and the political settlements trap

When aspirations triggered by development and prosperity outstrip a political settlement's ability to deliver on those expectations, how easy is it to 're-settle' the settlement? 

Opinion by Graham Teskey 17th July 2015

Elections: transformational, or blunt tools of representation?

How do we explain the profound dissatisfaction with the quality of representation now manifest in democracies everywhere?

Opinion by Alina Rocha Menocal 8th September 2016

Security and justice – the mismatch between policy and practice

What hinders more politically nuanced security and justice programming?

Opinion by Shivit Bakrania 21st July 2014

Where do inclusive institutions come from? Lessons from Asia

Societies with more inclusive institutions are more peaceful and more resilient, and tend to be better governed - but how do they get there?

Opinion by Alina Rocha Menocal 27th February 2017

Political settlements: people and the landscapes of power

The inescapable conundrum that politics involves actual politicians is one reason why the subject of political settlements generates so much debate.

Opinion by Alan Whaites 24th July 2015

Two remarkable transitions: lessons from Oman and Somaliland

What we can learn from areas of stability and calm in regions where near neighbours seem to be struggling to resolve strife.

Opinion by Sarah Phillips 20th July 2015

Using aid to strengthen Parliaments: fix the car, or worry about the driver?

Parliaments have always been treated as the poor cousins of democracy assistance efforts. (Guest post for From Poverty to Power)

Opinion by Alina Rocha Menocal 24th November 2014

From functional governance to sustainable peace: Making the space to reflect, learn and adapt

Learning how to balance the technically possible and politically feasible in volatile, conflict-affected contexts.

Opinion by Aditi Haté 22nd February 2017

Politics - the problem and solution to poor services?

One of the most influential and enduring World Development Reports ever produced – Making Services Work for Poor People – is a decade old this year.

Opinion by Claire Mcloughlin 13th March 2014

When the stars align to tackle inequality

Reflections on the 2015 DLP annual conference.

Opinion by Alina Rocha Menocal 18th February 2015

Developmental leadership: putting inclusiveness first

Only through putting inclusiveness first can fragile states begin to break the dysfunctional societal and institutional patterns that hold back change.

Opinion by Seth D. Kaplan 24th September 2015

DRCongo: where a decade of failed democracy has exposed the electoral fallacy

It takes more than a fairly-won election to guarantee that the elected will put their citizens first, rather than themselves. (Guest post for Africa at LSE)

Opinion by Suda Perera 19th December 2016

Peace and security in Africa: from summitry to solutions

Africa needs a new generation of leaders who share Nelson Mandela's vision of peace and reconciliation. (First published in The Conversation.)

Opinion by Stefan Wolff 20th December 2013

Somaliland's route to peace

Have donors overlooked the role played in development by secondary education? Reflections on new research on peacebuilding in Somaliland. 

Opinion by Sarah Phillips 12th December 2013

Pacific power: new femininities and women's leadership in the Pacific

The educated, internationally connected women who are changing the way 'development' is done

Opinion by Ceridwen Spark 24th June 2014

Is education a magic bullet for addressing corruption? Insights from Papua New Guinea

This post for Devpolicy unpacks the findings of a new Development Policy Centre/DLP paper.

Opinion by Grant Walton 17th June 2015

Inclusive political settlements: who and what gets included?

DLP hosted a day-long high level introductory workshop on political settlements in June. This post introduces a series that showcases the contributions of researchers, policymakers and practitioners.

Opinion by Alina Rocha Menocal 13th July 2015

Education, development, and the problem with consensus

Why rethink the international consensus on 'quality basic education for development'?

Opinion by Michele Schweisfurth 7th April 2014

How quality secondary and higher education can improve national leadership: lessons from Ghana

New DLP research poses the question of whether the focus of the international development community on primary education is too narrow.

Opinion by Amir Jones 25th March 2014

Developmental leaders, 'dirty hands', and the dark side of collaboration

Should donors support developmental leaders who gain or keep power through questionable means? 

Opinion by Niheer Dasandi 11th December 2013

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

Find out more

News

Doing Development Differently workshop - Jakarta 2017

Thursday 30th March 2017

Putting the concept of Thinking and Working Politically into practice was at the heart of a workshop on 15-16 March attended by more than 200 delegates from the field of international development. Delegates from the government, civil service and local organisations of the host country, Indonesia, were joined by academics, including DLP researchers, and staff from donor organisations and NGOs.

Read more

DLP shares research at FCO Africa Study Day

Monday 27th March 2017

DLP findings on the Democratic Republic of Congo were among the topics discussed with with UK diplomats and civil servants at the FCO's Africa Study Day, held at Sandhurst on 21 March. This year's Foreign and Commonwealth Office event was organised by University of Birmingham's International Development Department, home to DLP.

Read more

Follow: @dlprog