We want to express our deepest gratitude for those who have been willing to participate in the research. Without them, this paper would not exist. Special thanks also to Ridwan Kheyre and Abdisalan Mohamed Ise for their continuous hard and always reliable work as translators and assistants. Also, thanks to Abdihakim Abdillahi Omer for his patience in translating both words and context. Lastly, thanks to Patrick Edmond and two anonymous reviewers for providing constructive feedback on earlier versions of this paper.

Disclosure statement


No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

About The Authors 

Tobias GandrupTobias Gandrup

Tobias Gandrup is a Ph.D. candidate in International Development Studies at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. His research focuses on the provision of primary education in Somaliland with special attention to the role of international actors. The research rests on qualitative fieldwork in different localities in Somaliland. Tobias is interested in state/society relations, processes of state formation, and the organization of public services.

The study is first of its kind to produce rich empirical material on public service delivery from the Somali territories. Moreover, it contributes to and challenges existing theories on state making and local governance in areas of a relative absence of the state.

Tobias holds an MA in International Development Studies from Roskilde University, Denmark. In his Master thesis, he focused on the role(s) of Hargeisa Egal International Airport in processes of state formation in Somaliland from 1991 to 2014. Moreover, Tobias worked at the Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies in Spring 2015 as a part-time lecturer.

Kristof TitecaKristof Titeca

Kristof Titeca is a researcher and lecturer at the Institute of Development Policy and Management, University of Antwerp, focusing on governance in fragile states: areas where the state is only weakly present or which are affected by conflict particularly in Central and Eastern Africa. He was previously a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics. He has been a regular contributor to the Washington Post, and has also written for outlets such as Al Jazeera, African Arguments and others.

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