Coming from the former British Somililand is a surprisingly encouraging story of local people rebuilding their lives, renouncing war, embracing decentralised government, and generally improving economic and social conditions:

 When the sun rises over the craggy hills of Hargeysa, it sheds light on a different kind of Somalia.

Ice cream trucks hit the streets. Money changers, unarmed and unguarded, push cash through the market in wheelbarrows. Politicians from three distinct parties get ready for another day of debate, which recently included animated discussion on registering nomadic voters.

It is all part of a Somali puzzle: how one area of the country, the northwest, also known as Somaliland, can seem so peaceful and functional — so normal, in fact — while the rest continues to be such a violent, chaotic mess.

Somaliland is an overlooked African success story

All of this has been done, as the article notes, largely without any outside intervention or interference. Instead, local people- many of whom are rural and illiterate- have been crafting governance and an economy with a combination of traditional cultural forms and elements of Western democracy. All without contingents of Western troops or bucketloads of Western aid, or even legions of specialists and advisors. Imagine!