Sanaag Regional Background

Sanaag is the largest region in terms of land in the Republic of Somaliland, Sanaag is a remote eastern region of Somaliland, which bordered by approximately 380 kilometres of Red Sea coastline to the north facing to Gulf of Aden and locates the border between Somaliland and eastern regions of Somalia. The population of Sanaag region is estimated at 270,367 (UNDP 2005), with more than 79% living in the rural areas. The region is divided into six districts: Erigavo, Badhan, Las Qoray, Gar Adag, Dhahar and Ceel AF weyn (El Afweyn), with the town of Erigavo as the regional capital and Badhan, Las Qoray, Gar Adag, Dhahar and El Afweyn as the district capitals. In terms of development, both the former central governments of Somalia and current Somaliland government and by International agencies and other NGOs, the region of Sanaag has been almost totally neglected.

There are no surfaced roads in the region and services of almost any type are non-existent in the towns and the villages. Sanaag region lacks an adequate transport, communication and infrastructures, leading to a chronic lack of public services, particularly the important areas such as: Climate Sanaag has four zones: the coastal area, the mountain range, the gypsum karsts plateau and the Sanaag Haud plateau.

The latter is rich in pasture and has better water quality. Except for the elevated area of Erigavo district where rainfall records indicate an annual average of up to 800 mm, rainfall generally does not exceed 150 mm in most of the region. The Sanaag region is classified as an arid and semi-arid environment, experiencing less than 250 mm of rainfall per year which is very erratically distributed. Connected with these dry conditions is the frequent scarcity of water. The main sources of water for the region are boreholes, berkeds (ponds), and shallow wells. Without local capacity to invest in necessary maintenance, less than 20 percent of water infrastructure is functional in Sanaag.

The majority of both the nomadic and village populations are now dependant on unreliable surface water sources. 12 Economic Activities In recent history, the Sanaag region normally maintained a diverse economy, producing and then exporting to other regions, it produced livestock, frankincense, and leather for export, this was happening while the region lacked basic infrastructure, but sadly, after the outbreak of civil war the region’s economy collapsed from loss of markets and dilapidated infrastructure has never helped, and lack of investment. Now the region only supports one main economy, livestock rearing. The Somali livestock ban imposed by Gulf countries in which was Sanaag’s largest market has virtually destroyed the economy in the region, reducing purchasing power and forcing pastoralists in the region to survive on subsistence act.

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 Sanaag regional development information please click the link Sanaag regional development plan.