The president of Somaliland has said that despite its international reputation, the country has undergone vast public sector improvements over the past twenty years. He promises higher standards of healthcare, education, infrastructure and democracy. The number of infant deaths has fallen, for example, and the country has made great headway in the battle against malaria. Malaria is responsible for over 2% of worldwide deaths, but Somaliland has become virtually free from Malaria over the past couple of years. This is a significant improvement and one which can be regarded as a model for other nations to aspire to. Improvements in healthcare have been made in both the public and the private sector since 1991 which has made healthcare more available to the public of Somaliland.
While around one fifth of the inhabitants of Somalialand were actually literate in 1991 and a quarter literate in 1999, that figure shot up to 45% in 2010. In the next few years, literacy rates will soar well above fifty percent. Marked improvements in education are part of the reason behind this. There were only 219 primary, middle and secondary schools in Somalialand back in 1991. There are now more than five hundred primary schools alone throughout the nation. The importance of literacy and education cannot be overstated when it comes to securing a future for a fledgling country like Somalialand – the government and the teachers of Somalialand have proved to the world that they are more than equipped to get that message across.
As the government focuses on improving the reputation of the country in the eyes of the rest of the world it is necessary for it to look forward and prepare for a time when Somaliland will be trading on a greater scale with the developed world. In order to do so, an improvement in education is required. The government has therefore been working on improving the literacy of the nation, boasting impressive increases in the number of schools and in the level of literacy. Competing in the global market requires employees who are able to use computers and subsequently read and right in order to communicate with clients and investors, and of course who have strong literacy skills. It is therefore vital that the government of Somaliland improves education in the country and it has so far demonstrated that it is capable of doing so.
Of more immediate concern is the improvement of the political state of the country, for without a stable government to provide public services, the state of education, for example, is of little relevance. The government is beginning to feel confident that the nation as a whole is capable of practicing democracy and that as the government is prepared to listen to what the people want, the people are prepared to peacefully express what it is that they do want. If this peace continues, Somaliland may be able to act as a model for other African to demonstrate the encouraging progress that can be made over time.