A gateway to recognition
Hargeisa airport plays a role in Somaliland’s state project
The airport of Hargeisa, the capital of the officially unrecognized Republic of Somaliland, has been refurbished and upgraded over the past years in order to live up to international standards for security, immigration control and handling. In a new DIIS working paper, Tobias Gandrup (University of Antwerp) describes the contested role of the airport since colonial times and the collapse of the Somali state in 1991. By analysing the everyday practices of the airport as a way of ‘performing the state’, controlling entry and exit, Gandrup shows how the international standards act as external drivers for the formation of a new state in Somaliland. In this way, the licensed airport also provides a degree of international recognition to Somaliland.