02 October 2013

A naked man in a tie

My favourite description of the country came from Souleiman Youssouf, a 35-year-old Somalilander who lives and works in Canada but tries to visit every year. “Somaliland is a naked man in a tie,” he told me, in a vivid reference to the way the country spans extremes of development. Ageing nomads still walk the plains with their camels, but they can also call the US at cheap rates on the territory’s extremely competitive and successful mobile telephone networks. And although no other territory in the world recognises it, Somaliland strives to run itself as any other nation-state. It holds elections, passes laws and collects taxes – however meagre – and has developed an impressive clutch of commercial mobile phone, mobile internet and money transfer services.
From Katrina Manson's notes on her visit to the 6th Annual Hargeisa International Book Fair. My favourite short story about economics set in Hargeisa is here.

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