The status quo of Somaliland construction industry: A development trend


Over the years, the global construction industry has been seen as a vital driving force for the development and sustainability of any country’s economy. This is because the need to secure a place for shelter, adequate means to move around and access to modern information technologies are all essential for human and its society’s sustenance. However, for the low-income countries with rural populations such as Somaliland, a working financing mechanism for road and building construction is of high significance. It is therefore, important to explore the sustainable and progressive development trend of the construction sectors in these countries. Consequently, this paper examined and briefly discussed the trend of construction practices and progress in Somaliland from the perspective of sustainable development. The status quo of the Somaliland construction industry is also carefully explored and discussed. Recommendations for the future formulation of strategies/measures that could guide the rapid development of the country’s construction sector are proposed for future sustainable housing and public safety. It is however clear, that more research studies need to be carried out regarding the Somaliland construction sector.

Modern civil works and buildings in Somaliland

Although, the Somaliland government have made efforts to continuously apply standard specifications in an effort to reach an efficient level of easiness in terms of movement among its regions, the roads network in Somaliland is still perceived to have an average efficiency, particularly, during the raining season. Only few of the networks comprise of rain water drainage network to control the increasing water when necessary and in turn reduce flood. Moreover, a regular maintenance for smooth operation is often required for these networks.

Furthermore, Somaliland had a huge interest to deliver the essential construction services to all residential units that can cater for the well-being of citizens regardless of the kind of services. However, with the increasing population in recent years, the government needs to increase the efficiency of the modern civil works and building services. These services include: religious facilities, educational facilities, health care facilities, social facilities, general facilities, recreational facilities, commercial facilities, customs and border control facilities (Sheikh et al., 2020).

The Status Quo of Somaliland Construction

Industry Somaliland construction industry is one of the most significant industries that presently supports the economic development of the country (Sheikh et al., 2020). Building construction projects are the most common projects carried out presently in Somaliland. This is a response to the consequences of the civil war in 1988 that resulted in the destruction and deterioration of the nation’s roads and buildings alongside the breakdown of the authorities that are accountable for the running and maintenance for these infrastructures (Ali, 2012; Sheikh et al., 2020). Most of these new projects have been executed in the last seven year while others are in the implementation phase (Sheikh et al., 2020). The most common building construction projects are the mix-use building projects with varying amounts of office, residential apartment, hotel, educational facility, and commercial space.

Public Sector

Most of the public construction projects under the Somaliland Development Fund are infrastructure and road works, which are mostly supported by international donors (Ali, 2012). These donors include UKaid, Ministry of foreign affairs of Denmark and the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Ali, 2012). The Road Fund also raises funds from fuel levy, road tax, and transport fees and so on. Most of these projects pay attention to soil and water conservation, sewage disposal, road construction and rehabilitation, education, health and job creation schemes (Ali, 2012).

Private Sector

Over the last two decades, Somaliland has experienced significant changes in its security condition, political structure, socio-economy, and technological changes, demonstrating the remarkable resilience and adaptableness of the republic of Somaliland (Fashina et al., 2020; Sheikh et al., 2020). Unlike most other economies in the world, the Somaliland economy is controlled by the private sector. Furthermore, in spite of the years of civil conflicts and economic depression Somaliland has been experiencing a notable recovery economically due to a cope of reasons. One of the main reasons for the intriguing economic development is the emergence of strong private sectors in 1991 and the high flows of remittances from the large community of Somalilanders in the Diasporas (Ahmed, 2000). Moreover, the private sector in Somaliland includes a huge number of local and international private companies that have different specialties and classifications ranging constructing to consulting, and have a large employee base (Ali, 2012).


This paper has explored the construction practices and development trend of the Somaliland construction industry from the perspective of sustainability. The paper revealed that the Somaliland construction industry is dominated by the private sector, apart from the road construction where donor agencies such as UKaid, Ministry of foreign affairs of Denmark and the Kingdom of the Netherlands are the major sources of financial contributions for the projects. As identified by (Sheikh et al., 2020) there are presently no building codes or regulations in Somaliland. This has allowed the Somaliland building and construction industry to be self-governed by the building owners and the construction professionals. Despite the absent of building codes and regulations however, there have been a swift development in the construction industry and the upsurge of mid-rise building of four to five story buildings in Somaliland in recent years. One can thus argue that Somaliland construction industry would need to put into account the long-term impacts or benefits of sustainable buildings for the health, safety and welfare of its citizens. It is however clear that further work needs carried out on the status of the developmental trend of the Somaliland construction industry. This may include but not limited to rigorous data collection for major risk factors in the industry, an empirical model can be developed to elucidate on the citizen’s concerns regarding public welfare, safety, health of the built environment and the impact of project delay and the mitigating measures needed to be put in place by construction companies in order to curb project delays in Somaliland can also be explored.

In our view, we suggest that the government of Somaliland would need to take bold steps regarding the development, implementation and enforcement of building codes and regulations with the aim of increasing the chances of Somaliland construction industry realizing its vital roles in the economic evolution and development processes of the country. The government of Somaliland would further need to collaborate with other stakeholders in the construction industry and higher institutions to profoundly invest in capacity building of construction professionals and workers with the proper and required practical skills in order to become active and well-organized society in the nearest future (Ika & Donnelly, 2017).