Academic quality in `peripheral' universities in sub-Saharan Africa is a critical issue for international higher education development. The purpose of this study is to determine academic views of institutional quality in the Republic of Somaliland, to understand the purpose and framework for measuring quality in their system. Significant enrollment growth, new institutional formation, private higher education expansion, and very limited public resources define a region like Somaliland. Though growing equity of access for students is suggested, system growth in a context of limited resources raises significant questions regarding institutional quality and academic intensification. A congruent, mixed-method of surveys (N = 166) and interviews (37) are used to determine academic viewpoints at three sample institutions: University of Hargeisa, Amoud University, and Admas University College. From these data, academic staff in Somaliland mostly define institutional quality according to the foundational purposes of maintaining civil peace through youth engagement and economic development through human capital training. Academic staff agreed that the overall qualification and training of lecturers was a limiting factor for higher education quality. Due to human resource flight during the civil war of the late 1980s-90s and significant growth of the higher education sector, lecturers are under qualified compared to international and regional standards; only 4% hold a doctoral qualification. Consistent with this result, academic staff view the number of professors with doctoral degrees as the most important indicator of quality in higher education. Though, as is shown in qualitative interviews, phenomena related to students (post-graduate employment, enrollment, and performance on international exams) are also important indicators of institutional success.