Somaliland Democratization Strategy

Atlantic Council’s Africa Center and the International Republican Institute (IRI) hosted the Washington launch today of the new Somaliland International Democratization Strategy commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. Prepared by IRI after extensive consultation and field research, the detailed strategy document will help the international donor community coordinate and plan future democracy-support programs for Somaliland.

Speaking at the event, which was moderated by IRI Africa Director Gretchen Birkle, were Elizabeth Lewis, IRI’s monitoring and evaluation officer; Atlantic Council Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham; and Lange Schermerhorn, former US ambassador to Djibouti. Pham and Schermerhorn had served as international election observers during Somaliland’s 2010 presidential election.

In his remarks, Pham emphasized that the strategy document was a “road map” for Somaliland’s continued progress, one best understood in light of the considerable achievements which the region’s people have accomplished since the collapse of the Somali state in 1991. He also warned that the international community needed to engage Somaliland to consolidate those gains, which should not be taken for granted, especially in light of the repeated setbacks in southern and central Somalia.