On Monday, elections were held in the Somaliland Republic. The election results are delaying. But the small country in the Horn of Africa has the world’s most modern system to make sure no-one is voting more than once. This is done by checking the eye’s iris. At the last election in Somaliland there was a lot of stroll in the ballrooms. A really dissuasive example is the mess that occurred after the election in Kenya earlier this year – and which ended with the Supreme Court annulling the election. The new technology is used to avoid such.
It also happens that Somaliland is one of the world’s leading in terms of mobile payments. While mobile payments have gone through in Sweden in recent years, people in Somaliland have been accustomed to having their mobile wallet for a long time.
When the Örebro company Transfer Galaxy transfers contributions from relatives in Sweden to relatives in Somaliland, the recipients receive the money registered in their mobile phone. When they go to the store and shop, they click on their mobile to pay. In this way, people living in remote villages can also enter the globalized economy, using companies such as Transfer Galaxy.
The fact that a country is poor does not mean that technology is being held back. But the desire to get out of poverty hurries a technology development that looks different in Somaliland than in Sweden.
The transfer of money from the Somalis abroad means a fine word called remittances. But there is also a term called “social remittances”. Somalis living in countries such as Sweden, the United States, Great Britain and Finland are affected by our values. Some also engage politically. And they return their values to their homeland. It is not so difficult to see the benefits of democracy, welfare and the absence of corruption.
“That Örebro’s good service can thus affect the policies of a country in another part of the world. Just the fight against corruption is one of the most important issues for ordinary people in Somaliland.”
The feeling of going to Örebro municipality and meeting an official who is actually trying to help you find a place in childcare is different from going to a corrupt official who requires some extra money under the table to solve your problem. That Örebro’s good service can thus affect the policies of a country in another part of the world. Just the fight against corruption is one of the most important issues for ordinary people in Somaliland.
One of the two main candidates in the election to Somaliland, Abdirahman Irro, has lived in Finland for several years and speaks excellent Finnish. He is the opponent who formed the new Wadani Party as late as 2012. He describes himself as a party inspired by the European Social Democracy. He has criticized the sitting government for, for example, shortcomings in terms of freedom of the press.
Sitting President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo does not resign for re-election. The ruling Kulmiye party’s candidate for the presidency is Muse Bihi Abdi.
The outside world regards Somaliland as part of Somalia, despite the fact that the country has a well functioning government. There must be a conflict about this that has to be handled with care.
But Somaliland is the most free country on the Horn of Africa. And every step that Somaliland seeks to be a full-fledged democracy should lead to concrete steps from, for example, Sweden, which facilitates exchange and trade.