Somalia Somalia

Somalia, See : Flags, Maps

Somalia (Africa)

Introduction ::Somalia


Britain withdrew from British Somaliland in 1960 to allow its protectorate to join with Italian Somaliland and form the new nation of Somalia. In 1969, a coup headed by Mohamed SIAD Barre ushered in an authoritarian socialist rule characterized by the persecution, jailing and torture of political opponents and dissidents. After the regime's collapse early in 1991, Somalia descended into turmoil, factional fighting, and anarchy. In May 1991, northern clans declared an independent Republic of Somaliland that now includes the administrative regions of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sanaag, and Sool. Although not recognized by any government, this entity has maintained a stable existence and continues efforts to establish a constitutional democracy, including holding municipal, parliamentary, and presidential elections. The regions of Bari, Nugaal, and northern Mudug comprise a neighboring semi-autonomous state of Puntland, which has been self-governing since 1998 but does not aim at independence; it has also made strides toward reconstructing a legitimate, representative government but has suffered some civil strife. Puntland disputes its border with Somaliland as it also claims portions of eastern Sool and Sanaag. Beginning in 1993, a two-year UN humanitarian effort (primarily in the south) was able to alleviate famine conditions, but when the UN withdrew in 1995, having suffered significant casualties, order still had not been restored. In 2000, the Somalia National Peace Conference (SNPC) held in Djibouti resulted in the formation of an interim government, known as the Transitional National Government (TNG). When the TNG failed to establish adequate security or governing institutions, the Government of Kenya, under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), led a subsequent peace process that concluded in October 2004 with the election of Abdullahi YUSUF Ahmed as President of a second interim government, known as the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of the Somali Republic. The TFG included a 275-member parliamentary body, known as the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP). President YUSUF resigned late in 2008 while United Nations-sponsored talks between the TFG and the opposition Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) were underway in Djibouti. In January 2009, following the creation of a TFG-ARS unity government, Ethiopian military forces, which had entered Somalia in December 2006 to support the TFG in the face of advances by the opposition Islamic Courts Union (ICU), withdrew from the country. The TFP was increased to 550 seats with the addition of 200 ARS and 75 civil society members of parliament. The expanded parliament elected Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed, the former CIC and ARS chairman as president on 31 January 2009, in Djibouti. Subsequently, President SHARIF appointed Omar Abdirashid ali SHARMARKE, son of a former president of Somalia, as prime minister on 13 February 2009. SHARMARKE resigned in September 2010 and was replaced by Mohamed Abdullahi MOHAMED, aka Farmajo, a dual US-Somali citizen that lived in the United Stated from 1985 until his return to Somalia in October 2010. The creation of the TFG was based on the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC), which outlines a five-year mandate leading to the establishment of a new Somali constitution and a transition to a representative government following national elections. However, in January 2009 the TFP amended the TFC to extend TFG's mandate until 2011.

Geography ::Somalia


Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, east of Ethiopia

Geographic coordinates:
10 00 N, 49 00 E

Map references:



total: 637,657 sq km country comparison to the world: 43 land: 627,337 sq km

water: 10,320 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than Texas

Land boundaries:

total: 2,340 km

border countries: Djibouti 58 km, Ethiopia 1,600 km, Kenya 682 km


3,025 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 200 nm


principally desert; northeast monsoon (December to February), moderate temperatures in north and hot in south; southwest monsoon (May to October), torrid in the north and hot in the south, irregular rainfall, hot and humid periods (tangambili) between monsoons


mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

highest point: Shimbiris 2,416 m

Natural resources:

uranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt, natural gas, likely oil reserves

Land use:

arable land: 1.64%

permanent crops: 0.04%

other: 98.32% (2005)

Irrigated land:

2,000 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

15.7 cu km (1997)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 3.29 cu km/yr (0%/0%/100%)

per capita: 400 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:

recurring droughts; frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer; floods during rainy season

Environment - current issues:

famine; use of contaminated water contributes to human health problems; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

strategic location on Horn of Africa along southern approaches to Bab el Mandeb and route through Red Sea and Suez Canal

People ::Somalia


10,112,453 country comparison to the world: 82 note: this estimate was derived from an official census taken in 1975 by the Somali Government; population counting in Somalia is complicated by the large number of nomads and by refugee movements in response to famine and clan warfare (July 2010 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 45% (male 2,215,331/female 2,204,503)

15-64 years: 52.6% (male 2,588,356/female 2,579,737)

65 years and over: 2.5% (male 101,764/female 142,326) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 17.6 years

male: 17.4 years

female: 17.7 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.809% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 17

Birth rate:

43.33 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 8

Death rate:

15.24 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 12

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 109


urban population: 37% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 4.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 107.42 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 5 male: 116.47 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 98.11 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 50 years country comparison to the world: 213 male: 48.12 years

female: 51.94 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

6.44 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 4

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.5% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 74

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

24,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 75

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

1,600 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 66

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and Rift Valley fever

water contact disease: schistosomiasis

animal contact disease: rabies (2009)


noun: Somali(s)

adjective: Somali

Ethnic groups:

Somali 85%, Bantu and other non-Somali 15% (including Arabs 30,000)


Sunni Muslim


Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 37.8%

male: 49.7%

female: 25.8% (2001 est.)

Education expenditures:

Government ::Somalia

Country name:

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Somalia

local long form: Jamhuuriyada Demuqraadiga Soomaaliyeed

local short form: Soomaaliya

former: Somali Republic, Somali Democratic Republic

Government type:

no permanent national government; transitional, parliamentary federal government


name: Mogadishu

geographic coordinates: 2 04 N, 45 22 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

18 regions (plural - NA, singular - gobolka); Awdal, Bakool,
Banaadir, Bari, Bay, Galguduud, Gedo, Hiiraan, Jubbada Dhexe (Middle
Jubba), Jubbada Hoose (Lower Jubba), Mudug, Nugaal, Sanaag,
Shabeellaha Dhexe (Middle Shabeelle), Shabeellaha Hoose (Lower
Shabeelle), Sool, Togdheer, Woqooyi Galbeed


1 July 1960 (from a merger of British Somaliland that became independent from the UK on 26 June 1960 and Italian Somaliland that became independent from the Italian-administered UN trusteeship on 1 July 1960 to form the Somali Republic)

National holiday:

Foundation of the Somali Republic, 1 July (1960); note - 26 June (1960) in Somaliland


25 August 1979, presidential approval 23 September 1979

note: the formation of transitional governing institutions, known as the Transitional Federal Government, is currently ongoing

Legal system:

no national system; a mixture of English common law, Italian law, Islamic sharia, and Somali customary law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: Transitional Federal President Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed (since 31 January 2009); note - a transitional governing entity with a five-year mandate, known as the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs), was established in October 2004; the TFIs relocated to Somalia in June 2004; in 2009, the TFI's were given a two-year extension to October 2011

head of government: Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed FARMAJO (since 1 November 2010)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister and approved by the Transitional Federal Assembly (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) election results: Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed elected president by the expanded Transitional Federal Assembly in Djibouti

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Assembly

note: unicameral Transitional Federal Assembly (TFA) (550 seats; 475 members appointed according to the 4.5 clan formula, with the remaining 75 seats reserved for civil society and business persons)

Judicial branch:

following the breakdown of the central government, most regions have reverted to local forms of conflict resolution, either secular, traditional Somali customary law, or sharia (Islamic) law with a provision for appeal of all sentences

Political parties and leaders:


Political pressure groups and leaders:

other: numerous clan and sub-clan factions exist both in support and in opposition to the transitional government

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

Somalia does not have an embassy in the US (ceased operations on 8
May 1991); note - the Transitional Federal Government is represented
in the United States through its Permanent Mission to the United

Diplomatic representation from the US:

the US does not have an embassy in Somalia; US interests are represented by the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya at United Nations Avenue, Nairobi; mailing address: Unit 64100, Nairobi; APO AE 09831; telephone: [254] (20) 363-6000; FAX [254] (20) 363-6157

Flag description:

light blue with a large white five-pointed star in the center; the blue field was originally influenced by the flag of the UN, but today is said to denote the sky and the neighboring Indian Ocean; the five points of the star represent the five regions in the horn of Africa that are inhabited by Somali people: the former British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland (which together make up Somalia), Djibouti, Ogaden (Ethiopia), and the Northern Frontier District (Kenya)

National anthem:

name: "Soomaaliyeey toosoo" (Somalia Wake Up)

lyrics/music: Ali Mire AWALE and Yuusuf Xaaji Aadan Cilmi QABILLE

note: adopted 2000; written in 1947, the lyrics speak of creating unity and an end to fighting

Government - note:

although an interim government was created in 2004, other regional and local governing bodies continue to exist and control various regions of the country, including the self-declared Republic of Somaliland in northwestern Somalia and the semi-autonomous State of Puntland in northeastern Somalia

Economy ::Somalia

Economy - overview:

Despite the lack of effective national governance, Somalia has maintained a healthy informal economy, largely based on livestock, remittance/money transfer companies, and telecommunications. Agriculture is the most important sector with livestock normally accounting for about 40% of GDP and more than 50% of export earnings. Nomads and semi-pastoralists, who are dependent upon livestock for their livelihood, make up a large portion of the population. Livestock, hides, fish, charcoal, and bananas are Somalia's principal exports, while sugar, sorghum, corn, qat, and machined goods are the principal imports. Somalia's small industrial sector, based on the processing of agricultural products, has largely been looted and the machinery sold as scrap metal. Somalia's service sector also has grown. Telecommunication firms provide wireless services in most major cities and offer the lowest international call rates on the continent. In the absence of a formal banking sector, money transfer/remittance services have sprouted throughout the country, handling up to $1.6 billion in remittances annually. Mogadishu's main market offers a variety of goods from food to the newest electronic gadgets. Hotels continue to operate and are supported with private-security militias. Due to armed attacks on and threats to humanitarian aid workers, the World Food Programme partially suspended its operations in southern Somalia in early January 2010 pending improvement in the security situation. Somalia's arrears to the IMF have continued to grow.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$5.896 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 157 $5.75 billion (2009 est.)

$5.607 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$2.372 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

2.6% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 138 2.6% (2009 est.)

2.6% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$600 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 225 $600 (2009 est.)

$600 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 65%

industry: 10%

services: 25% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

3.447 million (few skilled laborers) (2007) country comparison to the world: 97

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 71%

industry and services: 29% (1975)

Unemployment rate:

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

note: businesses print their own money, so inflation rates cannot be easily determined

Central bank discount rate:

NA% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

Agriculture - products:

bananas, sorghum, corn, coconuts, rice, sugarcane, mangoes, sesame seeds, beans; cattle, sheep, goats; fish


a few light industries, including sugar refining, textiles, wireless communication

Industrial production growth rate:

Electricity - production:

280 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 170

Electricity - consumption:

260.4 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 171

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

108 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 111

Oil - consumption:

5,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 167

Oil - exports:

1,475 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 120

Oil - imports:

6,387 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 149

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 119

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 127

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 176

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 122

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 130

Natural gas - proved reserves:

5.663 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 91


$300 million (2006) country comparison to the world: 173

Exports - commodities:

livestock, bananas, hides, fish, charcoal, scrap metal

Exports - partners:

UAE 58.27%, Yemen 20.32%, Saudi Arabia 3.78% (2009)


$798 million (2006) country comparison to the world: 178

Imports - commodities:

manufactures, petroleum products, foodstuffs, construction materials, qat

Imports - partners:

Djibouti 30.84%, Kenya 8.06%, India 7.86%, China 6.97%, Brazil 6.59%, Yemen 4.97%, Oman 4.72%, UAE 4.6% (2009)

Debt - external:

$3 billion (2001 est.) country comparison to the world: 129

Exchange rates:

Somali shillings (SOS) per US dollar - NA (2007-08), 1,438.3 (2006) official rate; the unofficial black market rate was about 23,000 shillings per dollar as of February 2007

note: the Republic of Somaliland, a self-declared independent country not recognized by any foreign government, issues its own currency, the Somaliland shilling

Communications ::Somalia

Telephones - main lines in use:

100,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 144

Telephones - mobile cellular:

641,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 155

Telephone system:

general assessment: the public telecommunications system was almost completely destroyed or dismantled during the civil war; private companies offer limited local fixed-line service and private wireless companies offer service in most major cities while charging the lowest international rates on the continent

domestic: local cellular telephone systems have been established in Mogadishu and in several other population centers

international: country code - 252; international connections are available from Mogadishu by satellite

Broadcast media:

2 private TV stations rebroadcast Al-Jazeera and CNN; Somaliland has 1 government-operated TV station and Puntland has 1 private TV station; Radio Mogadishu operated by the transitional government; 1 SW and roughly 10 private FM radio stations broadcast in Mogadishu; several radio stations operate in central and southern regions; Somaliland has 1 government-operated radio station; Puntland has roughly a half dozen private radio stations; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are available (2007)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

3 (2010) country comparison to the world: 228

Internet users:

106,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 159

Transportation ::Somalia


59 (2010) country comparison to the world: 80

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 7

over 3,047 m: 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 52

2,438 to 3,047 m: 4

1,524 to 2,437 m: 19

914 to 1,523 m: 23

under 914 m: 6 (2010)


total: 22,100 km country comparison to the world: 106 paved: 2,608 km

unpaved: 19,492 km (2000)

Merchant marine:

total: 1 country comparison to the world: 154 by type: cargo 1

foreign-owned: 1 (UAE 1) (2008)

Ports and terminals:

Berbera, Kismaayo

Transportation - note:

the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean are high risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; numerous vessels, including commercial shipping and pleasure craft, have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; crew, passengers, and cargo are held for ransom; the presence of several naval task forces in the Gulf of Aden and additional anti-piracy measures on the part of ship operators have reduced the piracy incidents; in response local pirates shifted operations farther south along the east coast of Somalia and eastward along the coast of Oman

Military ::Somalia

Military branches:

National Security Force (NSF): Somali Army (2010)

Military service age and obligation:

note: since 2005, the UN has listed the Transitional Federal Government and its allied militias as persistent violators in recruiting child soldiers (2010)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 2,261,704

females age 16-49: 2,217,584 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 1,328,567

females age 16-49: 1,386,971 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 99,919

female: 99,771 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

0.9% of GDP (2005 est.) country comparison to the world: 142

Transnational Issues ::Somalia

Disputes - international:

Ethiopian forces invaded southern Somalia and routed Islamist Courts from Mogadishu in January 2007; "Somaliland" secessionists provide port facilities in Berbera to landlocked Ethiopia and have established commercial ties with other regional states; "Puntland" and "Somaliland" "governments" seek international support in their secessionist aspirations and overlapping border claims; the undemarcated former British administrative line has little meaning as a political separation to rival clans within Ethiopia's Ogaden and southern Somalia's Oromo region; Kenya works hard to prevent the clan and militia fighting in Somalia from spreading south across the border, which has long been open to nomadic pastoralists

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

IDPs: 1.1 million (civil war since 1988, clan-based competition for resources) (2007)



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