With Khat being a psychotic drug banned by the United Nations under the convention against illicit traffic in narcotic drug and psychotropic substance, Somaliland is the largest Ethiopian export market destination. The Ethiopian ministry of trade statistics put to have earned almost $1 billion from its trade of Khat with Somaliland, including $350 million in taxation – ironically, Somaliland earned less than $45 million from Khat trade. This $1 billion Khat trade with Ethiopia is also supported by the Khat traders at Border town, Wajale, which evidently claims to exchange $8,333,000 a day from local currency and deposit it into Ethiopian Bank in that town. In compliance with this convention, all the developed countries banned it because of its danger to health.
In my many articles I wrote about Khat, I had warned the Somali people the dangers of consuming the drug. At one study, I divulged them into a study carried out in the UK into acute liver disease which is only endemic in Somali people living in the UK. It was a study into Khat conducted by three top university hospitals of leading liver specialists. The research had taken 6 years and looked into Eight Somali people of thousands who had been suffering acute liver illness. The study concluded that Khat causes clinically acute liver illness and those who continue chewing Khat will over the years build up low level of liver illness that will eventually develop into clinically acute liver illness. Khat was also associated in many studies to cause heart attack, stroke and mental illness.
Hard facts about Ethiopian and Somaliland trade:
- Somaliland (Somalia) has over taken Swiss for Ethiopian ten top export destination;
2. Ethiopia earns £1 billion from its trade with Somaliland by contrast, Somaliland earns $75,000 from its trade with Ethiopia.
3. Ethiopian income from Khat trade to Somaliland employs 3,500,000 Ethiopian;
4. Dubai Ports (DP) over the next 30 years will spend $450,000,000 while Somaliland will spend $30 billion on consumption of the Khat drug. This means Somaliland will spend 7 times the investment the DP would spend on Somaliland’s port;
5. Khat is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity among Somali people; it is attributed to the death of tens of thousands
6. Somaliland spends three times the hard currency it earns from livestock export to the gulf countries on the drug.
My points are:
1. How can we raise awareness to our people from the risks exposed from the dormant danger, Khat?;
2. If this psychotic drug should not be stopped, can we not reduce by denying lorries delivering Khat into towns and if possible, confiscating the drugs?;
3. Should we not be able to pressurise Ethiopia into opening its market for Somaliland’s salt and fisheries products; and
4. We should be requesting from Ethiopia and the UN to enforce the ban of Khat to which the UN called in all countries to eradicate its plantation, trade, transportation and exportation.
Finally Khat drains our country’s hard currency and succumbs thousands of our people to death and thousands to acquire serious illness or permanent disabilities. It is the time that we need to fight Khat by banning it or reducing its export volume into the country.
The link below is a letter to the former British Home Secretary, Theresa May.
Ahmed Abdi Isse