By Goth Mohamed Goth

A one-day panel discussion on how Somaliland citizens have and are expected to benefit from the newly forged Republic of Somaliland’s relationship with Taiwan was held on Sunday at the Imperial Hotel in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland.

The meeting, the first of its kind was organized by VOSOMWO a local NGO in collaboration with the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy attracted Government officials, national parties, civil society organizations, and other dignitaries all of whom reiterated the importance of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Somaliland.  As well as how to raise awareness among the Somaliland public on ways to engage and forge closer relations. However, most importantly on enhancing closer cooperation in the areas of the economy, trade, education and anything else that is important to the nation.

Ms.Hibaaq Ahmed, the chairperson of VOSOMWO briefed those in attendance on the purpose and aim of the meeting in which she said, “The purpose of this meeting is to raise awareness and highlight what has being achieved since the Republic of Somaliland and Taiwan forged close diplomatic relations and to discuss why most of the Somaliland public is still unaware of the benefits and achievements of this relationship.

“I would like to use this opportunity to thank the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, without which we would not have had this meeting, and I would like to thank all the distinguished guests who attended this forum from various branches of government, civil society organizations, traditional leaders and the public. We will do our best to continue such meetings in the future for the greater good of the community, “said Ms. Hibaaq Ahmed, Chairman of VOSOMWO.

Mr. Abdurrahman Osman Gaas, Executive Director of NAFIS NETWORK, speaking during the meeting said: “The political relationship between the Republic of Somaliland and Taiwan will be the key for the Somaliland public to gain from three things. Firstly, international political engagement, which is to have their case heard by the world through engaging with Taiwan, secondly our people will learn to be self-reliant, productive and not to depend on foreign aid and, the third point is through economic integration, as Taiwan is located in the Asian continent and the future of trade and economy seems to be moving in that direction.

He added, “I think that country can be a good place for us as the gateway to the world. It will enable us to make money, generate more income and do more business with the outside world”.

The chairperson of the Disaster Preparedness and Food Security Agency, Faisal Ali Sheikh Mohamed, who also spoke at the symposium, said that VOSOMWO is a valuable community organization in Somaliland and works exclusively for women, children, and the vulnerable in general and those from our marginalized society in particular. He commended the meeting as timely as there is a need to educate the public on the potential benefits of Somaliland-Taiwan relations.

Sultan Nasir Sultan Abdi, one of the Somaliland traditional elders, thanked VOSOMWO for organizing the meeting and called on the Somaliland community to take advantage of the relationship between Somaliland and Taiwan that will be of great benefit to the country. He also said that their long-standing efforts to highlight the plight and grievances of minorities communities have borne fruit and that efforts need to be continued.

The Foreign Affairs Adviser to the Somaliland House of Elders, Ms. Fadumo Said, SONSAF Chairperson Anwar Abdirahman Warsame, UCID Women’s Wing Chairperson Saado Jama Aden (Saado Dheer), and SIHA Network official Nuraddin Mohamed speaking during the meeting highlighted the importance of enhancing the relations and benefit from such engagement

  1. At the end of the meeting, the participants exchanged questions and comments on the topic.