Livestock is currently the leading economic sector in all of Somaliland. Livestock production accounts for 60-65% of the gross domestic product (GDP).
Based on 1998 FAO estimates of livestock numbers and past growth rates, Somaliland has about 1.69 million camels, 0.40 million head of cattle, 8.4 million goats and 8.75 million sheep in 2011. The Sool, Sanaag and Togdheer regions account for about 75% of all livestock.
Somaliland’s major livestock exports are sheep and goats, accounting for 91% of all animal exports. In 2010 a total of 2.352 million shoats were exported through the Berbera port (including from Ethiopian sources). Of this total, 1.612 million (69%) were exported between September and November for the Hajj festivities. Assuming an average export price of US$70, the estimated total value would be over US$160 million. With government taxes at around US$3.60 per head, this means tax revenue of around US$8.5 million, or 10% of the Somaliland government’s total revenue.
Somaliland, and to a certain extent the other exporters from the Horn of Africa, depends on only a few countries for exports. For example out of the 2.585 million head of sheep and goat exported through the Port of Berbera in 2010, about 78% went to Saudi Arabia, 20% to Yemen and the rest to Egypt and Oman.
With increased investment, smart regulation, infrastructure development, sector coordination and improved branding, the Somaliland has ample opportunities to capitalize on the growth of the livestock sector in the Middle East and other regions of the Muslim world, while supporting the growing local demand.