The chaos in Somalia has obscured a remarkable political development in the country’s north. Somaliland, the secessionist northwestern slice of Somalia which declared its independence in 1991, has held three consecutive competitive elections since 2001, has a parliament controlled by opposition parties, and boasts a burgeoning economy propelled by the private sector. The key to its success—the integration into politics of traditional Somali models of governance by consultation and consent—provides a contrast to the standard development paradigm in the West.