Memorandum of Understanding

MoU Somaliland: State-ing the obvious

Episode Notes

The international aid set-up struggles to know how to work in countries that do not exist. Sometimes resources are poured into these places, and sometimes they are ignored entirely. But is splendid isolation from aid such a bad thing?

In this episode we travel to Somaliland, the northern most segment of Somalia, to tell the story of a nation that was founded on its own. We speak to Dr Sarah Phillips, an academic at the University of Sydney and author of the book When There Was No Aid, as well as Mohamed Ahmed, Sarah’s research assistant, and Ayan Mahamoud, former Head of Mission of the Republic of Somaliland to the United Kingdom, to understand how a place more state-like than state on the world map but with no flag at the United Nations, has built itself into the Horn of Africa’s sole democracy.


Recommended reading: For more on the state of play in Somaliland, read Sarah’s book When There Was No Aid, as well as Gordon’s blog piece “Doing better without aid: the case of Somaliland”. As for the global status quo on states, see the Handbook of State Recognition.

Behind the curtain: We are on air thanks to the ANU’s Development Policy Centre.

Visual credits: Children looking after goats in a village near Somaliland's Burco region. Photo courtesy of Ayan Mahamoud.