Togdheer Regional Background


Togdheer region is the second largest region in terms of land mass in the republic of Somaliland. The region has an estimated population size of approximately 350,000 and the pastoralist way of life is the main livelihood system. It is on the East of Somaliland where it shares borders with Sahil, Maroodi-Jeex, Sool and Sanaag Regions of Somaliland. On the Southwest, the region also shares borders with Ethiopia’s fifth region. Togdheer is located in the upper plateau categorized as "bush land" range type and receives an annual rainfall of 200 to 300 mm. Most of the Togdheer land terrain is undulating open grassland and the woodlands to the north, central and the south are receding at a fast rate due to logging and charcoal. The city of Burao surrounding peripheries is being depleted from forest cover as a result of a rigorous unchecked onslaught to cut trees for shelter, fencing and firewood use and hence an ever widening circle of open land. The Prosopis tree has established itself as the dominant plant along the dry riverbed and ravines.


Togdheer is renowned for its role in the contemporary history of Somaliland. It was Burao-the capital city of Togdheer region- which hosted the first Somaliland convention comprising the entire peoples of the country that resulted in producing the proclamation for the reclamation of the statehood of Somaliland. Renowned for its role as the hub of the livestock trade- the mainstay of the Somaliland economy- Togdheer is an important component of the make-up of the Somaliland state. Burao, the capital city of the Region, which once served as watering hole for the animals before the Haud became inundated with the digging of water cisterns (berkads) is the centre of livestock trade, around 3 million heads per year, which is primarily done with the Arab States in the Arabian Gulf.

The Region was once earmarked as having the highest per capita concentration of livestock in the Somali peninsula, but the recurrent droughts, overgrazing and the decimation of the plant and forest cover for charcoal burning has 12 reduced the livestock herds to a lamentable level that is unsustainable. Curbing the environmental devastation is an objective of both the ministry of environment and that of agriculture at the regional level,

Youth migration:

For the last two decades significant number of the rural population, especially the youth, has moved to the urban centres such as Burao and other towns like Hargeisa. The youth movement with their valuable labor and vitality, in a labour intensive way of life, has also contributed to the rural economy demise. Both boys and girls see the livelihood as unrewarding and disadvantaged having lost the glamour it once held in the hearts and minds of the Somali nomad. The migration of youth is a paramount concern of the government and would be reflected in the Togdheer Regional Plan. There is renewed interest in the region by oil exploring companies who are doing the first exploratory work and are a source of employment for many unemployed.


Togdheer Tradition and environs:

Togdheer is renowned again for its rich traditional conflict resolution mechanism and most conflicts do not last beyond the first initial flare-up. Elders and traditional leaders are often poised to intervene in any event of any significance where conflict has erupted or is eminent. Government role becomes only secondary in these conflicts that mostly arise from the sedentary process that has engulfed the commonly owned rural plains and open grassland. The permanent nature of enclosure formations and vast land acquisitions by the well- to- do from the urban centres have led to frictions that often cause conflicts.

Togdheer, the long river, for which the region has been named, is the coming together of hundreds of offshoots down from the Gollis watershed that goes by rapidly and furiously to as far as the Indian Ocean. The Ogo plateau, where Togdheer region is located, is crossed by numerous shallow valleys and dry watercourses and there are flat areas of arable land that provide a home for rain fed farmers. Most important, the region has permanent wells and a multitude of berkas to which the predominantly nomadic 13 population returns during the dry seasons. The plateau slopes gently southward and merges imperceptibly into an area known as the Haud, a broad, undulating terrain that constitutes some of the best grazing lands for Somali nomads, despite the devastation of human intervention. The value of the Haud is augmented by the natural depressions that during periods of rain become temporary lakes and ponds such as there is at Ceeg, Harada, Qoryaalle and Qorilugud among many others.

The silt and top alluvial it transports is a valuable loss that the agriculture, farming and vegetation of the region cannot do without in addition to the valuable water loss. Some attention is made in the Plan to address ways and means of harnessing the water as well as the soil loss in this continuous draw off. The districts of Beer and Odweine and to a small extent Qoyta are the areas that utilize the flash floods from the mountain range for fodder and occasionally for sorghum and other grain production.

2. Togdheer Region Development planning Workshop:

The development of a 5 year National Development Plan at the behests of the Somaliland Ministry of Planning and Development calls for the further crystallisation and elaboration of the work by including specified details of the various goals per sector at the regional level. This initiative done with the financial assistance of the Swiss Charity Organisation of Caritas has bestowed the privilege to Togdheer Region as the second region to benefit from the effort.

The overall objective of Somaliland NDP was to, "address and overcome structural and institutional constraints which Somaliland faces and achieve social and economic transformation to attain national prosperity.” Adhering to the same guideline principles and vision set out in the NDP, the workshop brought the different regional stakeholders, particularly the regional level ministry and agencies’ coordinators and managers, to Burao in order to present their department (or agency) perspective.

The NDP rests upon a long-term Somaliland development target: Vision 2030. Vision 2030 sets out its goals to achieving "a stable, democratic and prosperous country where the people enjoy ( a perpetual and lasting) 14 quality of life”. Although there are some realistic drawback, dictated by the skills and knowledge of the regional sector representatives, the overall goal is attempted with honesty and determination. As stated in the NDP that Somaliland is attempting to gaining control over its own development agenda, the regions are likewise offered to steer their own development programs for the first time.

For the development matters, Ministry of national planing and development has developed regional development plan which is focused on the current needs and governmental development agenda. YOVENCO also has its own strategic plan which is in line with national and regional aspirations. For more Togdheer regional development information please click the link Togdheer regional development plan.