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Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi Highlights National Achievements in Annual Address

The President of the Republic of Somaliland, His Excellency, Muse Bihi Abdi has delivered a comprehensive annual constitutional address today, showcasing the nation’s progress and setting forth ambitious goals for the coming year. His speech touched on critical areas including economic development, infrastructure, education, healthcare, security, governance, international relations, and domestic challenges.

Economic and Infrastructure Development

President Bihi opened by celebrating Somaliland’s economic growth, driven by substantial infrastructure investments. Significant projects included road expansions and new housing developments. One of the key highlights was the enhancement of Egal International Airport, where new aircraft have been acquired to boost connectivity and stimulate economic growth. “Our investment in infrastructure has been unprecedented,” Bihi noted, emphasizing the transformative impact of these developments. 

Education and Healthcare Improvements

The President underscored the government’s commitment to improving education and healthcare, critical sectors for national development. Somaliland has built new schools, upgraded existing facilities, and focused on training teachers. “We have built new schools and upgraded facilities to ensure our children receive the highest quality education,” Bihi said.

In healthcare, the construction of new hospitals and clinics, along with the procurement of essential medical equipment, has been a priority. These improvements aim to increase accessibility and enhance the quality of healthcare services, especially in underserved areas. “Our healthcare system has seen significant upgrades, ensuring better access and quality of care,” the President remarked.

Security and Governance 

Security remains a top priority for Somaliland, with significant investments in strengthening security forces and community-based security programs. These measures are essential for maintaining stability and ensuring the safety of citizens. “Our commitment to security is unwavering,” Bihi stated, highlighting the efforts to safeguard the nation against internal and external threats.

President Bihi also addressed the August 11, 2023 incident, a significant security breach that resulted in a tragic loss of lives. “The incident of August 11, 2023, was a dark day for our nation. We lost brave citizens, and it underscored the need for vigilance and enhanced security measures,” he said. The government has since implemented robust strategies to prevent such occurrences in the future, focusing on intelligence and community cooperation to ensure national safety.

Ministry of Interior documents shared online, which Somaliland Chronicle has not independently verified, appear to show a pardon issued by the Ministry of Interior related to the August 11th, 2023, incident. It remains unclear whether the government intends to revisit the case and prosecute those involved, despite the purported pardon from the Ministry.

A glaring omission from the President’s address was any mention of the ongoing security crisis in Las Anod, Eastern Somaliland. The President did not provide any updates on plans to resolve this crisis, reassert full control of territory and bring members of armed forces held by militias in Las Anod home. This represents a major threat to Somaliland’s territorial integrity – a significant security challenge that went unaddressed in the President’s sweeping address to joint parliamentary session.

On governance, efforts have been dedicated to enhancing transparency and efficiency through anti-corruption measures and promoting good practices. “We are committed to transparent and efficient governance,” the President emphasized, underscoring the importance of accountability in public service.

On governance, Bihi stated commitments to transparency, efficiency, and anti-corruption efforts to promote accountability. However, the President was less than forthcoming when it comes to corruption and misappropriation of public resources that persist across much of the government along with a major lack of transparency, despite Somaliland making some improvements in governance standards according to reports. Anti-corruption has been one of President Bihi’s major pledges, but tangible results have yet to fully materialize on this front. The President’s stated priorities around anti-graft measures and efficient administration will be judged against the government’s ability to decisively tackle endemic corrupt practices highlighted by observers.

International Relations and Recognition

A significant portion of President Bihi’s address focused on Somaliland’s ongoing quest for international recognition. Despite the challenges, he expressed optimism about the future, citing positive developments in diplomatic relations and increased engagement with international partners. “We continue to seek international recognition and have made significant diplomatic strides this year,” Bihi affirmed, highlighting the nation’s commitment to peaceful coexistence and cooperation with neighboring countries and the global community.

the President emphasized Somaliland’s strategic interests and the importance of forming partnerships with nations that respect its sovereignty and independence. He highlighted the recent agreement with Ethiopia, which prioritizes equality and mutual benefit. Under this agreement, Somaliland stands to gain international recognition, while Ethiopia secures access to a naval base at the Port of Berbera.

The President underscored the significance of Somaliland’s functioning international borders, contrasting it with the African Union’s hesitation to grant recognition. He emphasized the mutual benefits of the partnership with Ethiopia, including trade development and enhanced regional stability.

Furthermore, the President reiterated Somaliland’s foreign policy principles of good neighborliness, peace, and cooperation, epitomizing a Zero Conflict Policy. This approach emphasizes collaboration with neighboring nations and underscores Somaliland’s commitment to stability and consistency in its international relations.

Addressing Domestic Challenges

The President acknowledged the domestic challenges facing Somaliland, particularly the recurrent droughts that affect agriculture and water supplies. He emphasized the need for effective disaster management strategies and sustainable agricultural practices to mitigate these issues. “Our nation faces recurrent droughts that threaten our agriculture and water supply. We must implement effective disaster management strategies and sustainable practices,” Bihi stressed. He praised the resilience and unity of the Somaliland people in overcoming these challenges and working towards a prosperous future. 

Social Welfare and Community Development

President Bihi announced new initiatives aimed at improving social welfare, including programs for youth employment, women’s empowerment, and support for vulnerable populations. He highlighted the importance of community development projects that promote social cohesion and economic self-sufficiency. “We are committed to programs that support youth employment, empower women, and provide for vulnerable populations,” he declared.

In his address, President Muse Bihi Abdi painted a picture of a nation making significant strides in development, governance, and international diplomacy while remaining mindful of the challenges that lie ahead. He called on all Somalilanders to support the government’s initiatives and work together towards a common goal of national development and global recognition.

President Bihi who is seeking reelection in Somaliland’s upcoming elections in November 2024, times sounded more akin to an election rally than a policy address, peppered with cheers from supporters in the chamber. There were moments of hyperbole as the President highlighted his government’s achievements across sectors.

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