The impact of drought on Somaliland economy
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A poor Gu rain fall (April to June rain) partnered with poor Deyr (October to December rain) led to the death of livestock and displacement of pastoralist community in search of water and pasture.
Livestock is one of the most important players of Somaliland economics. The drought disrupted livestock trade which its economic asset generates many people’s income in different ways including selling and buying while others benefit from the livestock trade services.
Direct impact of droughts on economy is immense. According to Government assessment carried out in October and November, 60% of sheep and goats and 20% of camels have been lost in the eastern and coastal regions. The loss of livestock reduced the income and raised food prices which resulted food shortages.
Somaliland’s GDP for 2012 is estimated to have been 1.4 billion (US$) ranked as the world’s fourth lowest after Burundi, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi. Almost 30% of Somaliland GDP is derived from livestock.
According to Mohamed Farah, a livestock trader based in Buroa, the largest livestock market in Somaliland, the market is declining due to the prolonged drought.
"We don’t buy animals as much as we used to before the drought and the recent Saudi livestock ban. Most of the drought effected people moved away in search of water and pasture. What is left of animals are in poor condition and therefore not suitable for selling” he said.
Mohamed is worried about the Saudi livestock ban. Saudi Arabia suspended livestock imports, closing down the largest market for Somali livestock. "I don’t know which is worst; the Saudi ban or the fact that there will be no livestock because of the drought,” Mohamed said.
Small businesses are also complaining about sales revenues and profit decline. "Most of our customers are pastoralist. Now they don’t come anymore because they lost their animals. I used to make profit, but now some days we don’t even sell anything and I have to borrow money for my family’s bills from my friends,” Ahmed Abdi Yusuf, owner of small shop in Hageisa, said.
The money exchange sector is also affected. "Our main costumers are the people who sell, buy, and deal the livestock market. The market is shrinking. In between the depreciation of Somaliland currency which we get all of its blame, and the slow market caused by the drought, we are facing difficult time,” Hussien Jama, a money exchanger based on Hargeisa said.If the drought continues, the experts are worried Somaliland’s economy to collapse and the situation of the pastoralist families will get worse which could result famine.
About the author
Jama Ahmed Jama is the Editor-in-Chief of Somaliland Daily.