Somaliland Government Advises International Organizations to Fully Comply with NGO Act


Employers are not allowed to recruit foreigners for all positions that can be performed by citizens competently

About the MinistryThe Somaliland Ministry of Planning and National Development issued a circular putting a stop to what many saw as INGO disrespect to the employment laws of the land turning the country into a no-man’s lad but a foreigner’s.

Pressure has been mounting on the government to look into the employment practices of international NGOs and UN organizations who – it appeared favored foreign nationals over Somalilanders in the relatively better paying higher positions of their organizations. Kenyans, Ethiopians and nationals of implementing or donor countries held said positions, it has been often reported, at present. Candidates who applied for such positions were often turned down on one pretext or another.

Efficiency dropped down and circles within circles formed within organizations with that nearer to the head desk holding the reins in almost everything by proxy resulting in workplace favoritism, rivalries, tensions and unwarranted expulsions and/or unjustified promotions.

For a country where one of its primary sources of income is its workforce, adopting this policy is not an option but a lifesaver.

Enforcement of the employment Act 31/2020 and the NGOs Act 43/2010 need be followed up with action at all of the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary branch levels for them to be seriously considered by INGOs and investors. The External Affairs and Investment Committee of the parliament, particularly, must a keep a keen eye out for organizations and foreign concerns not to flaunt the country’s laws and for investments to align with national objectives and interests.

The ministry emphasizes that projects and programs had to be fully aligned to national development plans which reversed the long-held practice of dictated terms from without.

The Ministry circular dated 17 February 2024 read as follows:

The Ministry of Planning and National Development is hereby extending its gratitude to the donors and implementing organizations working in Somaliland for their valuable contribution to the Somaliland development and humanitarian assistance. The Ministry stands for strengthening its cooperation with its national and international partners through:

  1. Effective communication and participatory decision-making process in line with the relevant national and international protocols and regulations.
  2. Respecting operational independence of all partners. I laving said so. the Ministry would like to remind national and international institutions working in Somaliland to abide the following regulations:
  3. All development shall be aligned with the Somaliland National Development Plan of the Country. International NGOs should encourage and develop tangible achievements while supporting national NGOs in improving and building upon existing strengths to attain continuance and sustainability, as stated in paragraph 2, article 35 of the NGO Act 43/2010.
  4. All agencies and organizations implementing a development project, emergency or humanitarian activities must be registered with the Registration Office at the Ministry of Planning and National Development, according to Articles 13 and 28 of the Non-Governmental Organizations Act. No. 43/2010, and Article 28 of the Ministries and Government Agencies Regulation (Regulation No. 01/2018). 3. Private companies implementing development or emergency/humanitarian projects must obtain a project implementation permit from the Ministry of Planning and National Development as per the NGO Act 43/2010 and according to Article 28 Paragraphs 4, 9 and 10 of the Ministries and Government Agencies Regulation (Regulation No. 01/2018).
  5. International NGOs must encourage investment in national NGOs and should avoid competing with them for activities that they can implement competently to strengthen the capacity of national NGOs for quality service delivery, as stated in paragraph I, article 35 of the NGO Act 43/2010.
  6. International NGOs shall not become implementers for other International NGOs and UN organizations working in Somaliland, as stated in paragraph 3, article 35 of the NGO Act 43’2010.

 6• Employers are not allowed to recruit foreigners for all positions that can be performed by citizens competently, according to the Somaliland Labor Act 31/2020, Articles 34, 35 and 36.

For any feedback. comments or inquiries please feel free to contact with Director General. Mr. Mustafe Omar Farah for any feedback through his official email:

Download Somali and English (semi-official versions) of the NGO Act below:

Somali Version

English Version

Labor/Employment Law 31/2020 (Somali version)