Ethiopians Mixed on Somaliland Recognition


Tracking Global Events | January 16, 2024

In early January, Ethiopia and Somaliland, the breakaway region of northern Somalia, signed a memorandum of understanding that would deepen their foreign relations. Though full details of the agreement are opaque, reports suggest Ethiopia could lease a 20-kilometer stretch of Somaliland’s coastline in exchange for recognition of Somaliland’s independence. The Somali government in Mogadishu has strongly contested the draft agreement and sees it as a threat to their sovereignty. Somali officials have begun using escalating language and hinted at the potential for a military clash if Ethiopia does not abandon the plan. To better understand the thoughts of Ethiopians on this issue, Premise launched a rapid-response sentiment survey across the country.


  • Conflict is high on the minds of most Ethiopians surveyed, with 59% saying ‘an end to conflict’ is the most important issue facing their family.
  • While respondents know about the agreement (83% awareness), understanding of its details is more opaque, understandable given the confusing nature of each government’s announcement and misinformation circulating (see chart right).
  • To this point, 42% of respondents receive news about the agreement from social media.
  • The deal’s status is also unclear for many; 45% are unsure if the agreement was finalized, but a significant minority (35%) think it’s already been enacted.
  • The sentiment toward whether Ethiopia should finalize the agreement is mixed: 66% believe it should be finalized. This closely aligns with the 60%-40% Yes-No split when asked if they believe Somaliland is an independent country.
Ethiopians Mixed on Somaliland Recognition - Graph: To your knowledge, what is in the agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland?

Where have you received most of your news about the agreement?

Ethiopians Mixed on Somaliland Recognition - Graph: Where have you received most of your news


Premise collected 810 responses from 11 of the country’s 12 regional states. The panel was made up of 38% female and 62% male respondents. The survey utilized convenience sampling, a type of non-probability sampling that is hyper efficient in dynamic events.

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