Facts About : 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 the regions of Sool and Sanaag, and portions of Togdheer. Beginning in 1993, a two-year UN humanitarian effort (primarily in south-central Somalia) 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 doubled in size 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 ICU and ARS chairman as president in January 2009. The creation of the TFG was based on the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC), which outlined a five-year mandate leading to the establishment of a new Somali constitution and a transition to a representative government following national elections. In 2009, the TFP amended the TFC to extend TFG's mandate until 2011 and in 2011 Somali principals agreed to institute political transition by August 2012. The transition process ended in September 2012 when clan elders replaced the TFP by appointing 275 members to a new parliament who subsequently elected a new president.
  • Geography :: SOMALIA

  • Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, east of Ethiopia
    10 00 N, 49 00 E
    total: 637,657 sq km
    land: 627,337 sq km
    water: 10,320 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 44
    almost five times the size of Alabama; slightly smaller than Texas
    Area comparison map: 
    total: 2,385 km
    border countries (3): Djibouti 61 km, Ethiopia 1,640 km, Kenya 684 km
    3,025 km
    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
    lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Shimbiris 2,416 m
    uranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt, natural gas, likely oil reserves
    agricultural land: 70.3%
    arable land 1.8%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 68.5%
    forest: 10.6%
    other: 19.1% (2011 est.)
    2,000 sq km (2003)
    14.7 cu km (2011)
    total: 3.3 cu km/yr (0%/0%/100%)
    per capita: 377.6 cu m/yr (2003)
    recurring droughts; frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer; floods during rainy season
    famine; use of contaminated water contributes to human health problems; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
    party to: Biodiversity, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    strategic location on Horn of Africa along southern approaches to Bab el Mandeb and route through Red Sea and Suez Canal
  • People and Society :: SOMALIA

  • noun: Somali(s)
    adjective: Somali
    Somali 85%, Bantu and other non-Somali 15% (including 30,000 Arabs)
    Somali (official), Arabic (official, according to the Transitional Federal Charter), Italian, English
    Sunni Muslim (Islam) (official, according to the Transitional Federal Charter)
    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 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    0-14 years: 43.72% (male 2,317,935/female 2,323,681)
    15-24 years: 18.85% (male 1,012,447/female 988,251)
    25-54 years: 31.36% (male 1,722,230/female 1,607,117)
    55-64 years: 3.83% (male 196,664/female 209,983)
    65 years and over: 2.24% (male 92,658/female 145,414) (2015 est.)
    population pyramid: 
    total dependency ratio: 98.1%
    youth dependency ratio: 92.5%
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.6%
    potential support ratio: 17.9% (2015 est.)
    total: 17.8 years
    male: 18 years
    female: 17.7 years (2015 est.)
    1.83% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 62
    40.45 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    13.62 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    -8.49 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    urban population: 39.6% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 4.06% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    MOGADISHU (capital) 2.138 million; Hargeysa 760,000 (2015)
    at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
    total: 98.39 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 107.07 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 89.45 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    total population: 51.96 years
    male: 49.93 years
    female: 54.06 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 218
    5.99 children born/woman (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    14.6% (2006)
    0.04 physicians/1,000 population (2006)
    urban: 69.6% of population
    rural: 8.8% of population
    total: 31.7% of population
    urban: 30.4% of population
    rural: 91.2% of population
    total: 68.3% of population (2011 est.)
    urban: 52% of population
    rural: 6.3% of population
    total: 23.6% of population
    urban: 48% of population
    rural: 93.7% of population
    total: 76.4% of population (2011 est.)
    0.55% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    34,900 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    2,400 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    degree of risk: very 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 (2013)
    3.9% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    32.8% (2006)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    total number: 1,148,265
    percentage: 49% (2006 est.)
  • Government :: SOMALIA

  • conventional long form: Federal Republic of Somalia
    conventional short form: Somalia
    local long form: Jamhuuriyadda Federaalkaa Soomaaliya
    local short form: Soomaaliya
    former: Somali Republic, Somali Democratic Republic
    in the process of building a federal parliamentary republic
    name: Mogadishu
    geographic coordinates: 2 04 N, 45 20 E
    time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    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)
    Foundation of the Somali Republic, 1 July (1960); note - 26 June (1960) in Somaliland
    previous 1961, 1979; latest drafted 12 June 2012, approved 1 August 2012 (provisional) (2012)
    mixed legal system of civil law, Islamic law, and customary law (referred to as Xeer)
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud (since 10 September 2012)
    head of government: Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali SHARMARKE (since 24 December 2014); Deputy Prime Minister Mohamad Omar ARTEH (since 6 February 2015)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister, approved by the National Parliament
    elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the Federal Parliament by two-thirds majority vote in 2 rounds if needed for a single 4-year term; election last held on 10 September 2012 (next to be held in 2016); prime minister appointed by the president, approved by the Federal Parliament
    election results: HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud elected president; Federal Parliament second round vote - HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud (PDP) 190, Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed (ARS) 79; Omar Abdirashid Ali SHARMARKE approved as prime minister; Federal Parliament vote - 218 for approval, none against (6 members not present for vote)
    description: unicameral National Parliament or Golaha Shacabka Soomaaliya consists of the House of the People (275 seats; members directly elected to serve 4-year terms)
    note: the inaugural House of the People was appointed in September 2012 by clan elders; slated for 2016, the National Parliament will become bicameral with the formation of an upper house that will consist of 54 seats with members indirectly elected by regional governing councils to serve 4-year terms
    highest court(s): the provisional constitution stipulates the establishment of the Constitutional Court (consists of 5 judges including the chief judge and deputy chief judge); note - under the terms of the 2004 Transitional National Charter, a Supreme Court based in Mogadishu and an Appeal Court were established; yet most regions have reverted to local forms of conflict resolution, either secular, traditional Somali customary law, or sharia Islamic law
    judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the president upon proposal of the Judicial Service Commission, a 9-member judicial and administrative body; judge tenure NA
    subordinate courts: federal- and federal member state-level courts; military courts; sharia (Islamic) courts
    other: numerous political associations and clan and sub-clan factions exist both in support and in opposition to the incumbent president
    chief of mission: Ambassador Ahmed Issa AWAD (since 17 September 2015)
    chancery: 425 East 61st Street, Suite 702, New York City, NY 10021
    telephone: [1] (212) 688-9410, 688-5046
    FAX: [1] (212) 759-0651
    the US does not have an embassy in Somalia; US interests are represented by the US Special Representative for Somalia, Ambassador James P. MCANULTY (since August 2013), operating out of 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
    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 North East Province (Kenya)
    leopard; national colors: blue, white
    name: "Qolobaa Calankeed" (Every Nation Has its own Flag)
    lyrics/music: lyrics/music: Abdullahi QARSHE
    note: adopted 2012; written in 1959
    regional and local governing bodies continue to exist and control various areas 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

  • Despite the lack of effective national governance, Somalia maintains an 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. Telecommunication firms provide wireless services in most major cities and offer the lowest international call rates on the continent. Mogadishu's main market offers a variety of goods from food to electronic gadgets. Hotels continue to operate and are supported with private-security militias. Somalia's government lacks the ability to collect domestic revenue, and arrears to the IMF have continued to grow. Somalia's capital city - Mogadishu - has witnessed the development of the city's first gas stations, supermarkets, and flights between Europe (Istanbul-Mogadishu) since the collapse of central authority in 1991. This economic growth has yet to expand outside of Mogadishu, and within the city, security concerns dominate business. 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, although international concerns over the money transfers into Somalia currently threatens these services.
    $5.896 billion (2010 est.)
    $5.75 billion (2009 est.)
    $5.607 billion (2008 est.)
    note: data are in 2010 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 169
    $2.372 billion (2010 est.)
    2.6% (2010 est.)
    2.6% (2012 est.)
    2.6% (2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    $600 (2010 est.)
    $600 (2009 est.)
    $600 (2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 229
    household consumption: 72.6%
    government consumption: 8.7%
    investment in fixed capital: 20%
    investment in inventories: 0.1%
    exports of goods and services: 0.3%
    imports of goods and services: -1.7%
    (2011 est.)
    agriculture: 60.2%
    industry: 7.4%
    services: 32.5% (2011 est.)
    bananas, sorghum, corn, coconuts, rice, sugarcane, mangoes, sesame seeds, beans; cattle, sheep, goats; fish
    light industries, including sugar refining, textiles, wireless communication
    2.6% (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    3.011 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    agriculture: 71%
    industry and services: 29% (1975)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $NA
    expenditures: $NA
    note: businesses print their own money, so inflation rates cannot be easily determined
    $515.8 million (2012 est.)
    $594.3 million (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    livestock, bananas, hides, fish, charcoal, scrap metal
    UAE 44.4%, Yemen 19.1%, Oman 15.4%, India 5.6% (2014)
    $1.263 billion (2010 est.)
    $798 million (2006 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    manufactures, petroleum products, foodstuffs, construction materials, qat
    Djibouti 19.8%, India 14.7%, Oman 9.1%, China 9%, Kenya 8.9%, Pakistan 4.7% (2014)
    $3.05 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $3.055 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    Somali shillings (SOS) per US dollar -
    1,600 (2013 est.)
    1,600 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: SOMALIA

  • 315 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    293 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    80,000 kW (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 195
    5,600 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    5,556 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    5.663 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    855,800 Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
  • Communications :: SOMALIA

  • total subscriptions: 57,200
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 157
    total: 5.5 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 53 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    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 with one company beginning to provide 3G services in late 2012
    international: country code - 252; Mogadishu is a landing point for the EASSy fiber-optic submarine cable system linking East Africa with Europe and North America (2010)
    2 private TV stations rebroadcast Al-Jazeera and CNN; Somaliland has 1 government-operated TV station and Puntland has 1 private TV station; the transitional government operates Radio Mogadishu; 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)
    AM 0, FM 11 (also 1 station each in Puntland and Somaliland), shortwave 1 (in Mogadishu) (2001)
    4 (2 in Mogadishu and 2 in Hargeisa) (2001)
    total: 157,500
    percent of population: 1.5% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
  • Transportation :: SOMALIA

  • 61 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    total: 6
    over 3,047 m: 4
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 55
    over 3,047 m: 1
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 20
    914 to 1,523 m: 23
    under 914 m:
    6 (2013)
    total: 22,100 km
    paved: 2,608 km
    unpaved: 19,492 km (2000)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    total: 1
    by type: cargo 1 (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    major seaport(s): Berbera, Kismaayo
    despite a dramatic drop in the number of attacks in 2014, the International Maritime Bureau continues to report the territorial and offshore waters in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean as a region of significant risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships accounting for 4% of all attacks in 2014; 11 vessels were attacked or hijacked in 2014 compared with 237 in 2011; the presence of several naval task forces in the Gulf of Aden and additional anti-piracy measures on the part of ship operators, including the use of on-board armed security teams, have reduced piracy incidents in that body of water; in response Somali-based pirates, using hijacked fishing trawlers as "mother ships" to extend their range, shifted operations as far south as the Mozambique Channel, eastward to the vicinity of the Maldives, and northeastward to the Strait of Hormuz
  • Military :: SOMALIA

  • National Security Force (NSF): Somali Army (2011)
    18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2012)
    males age 16-49: 2,260,175
    females age 16-49: 2,159,293 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 1,331,894
    females age 16-49: 1,357,051 (2010 est.)
    male: 101,634
    female: 101,072 (2010 est.)
  • Transnational Issues :: SOMALIA

  • 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 (country of origin): 3,054 (Yemen) (2015)
    IDPs: 1.106 million (civil war since 1988, clan-based competition for resources; 2011 famine; insecurity because of fighting between al-Shabaab and TFG allied forces) (2015)