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 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.


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: 44
land: 627,337 sq km
water: 10,320 sq km

Area – comparative:
Area comparison map:

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: 1.73%
permanent crops: 0.05%
other: 98.23% (2011)

Irrigated land:
2,000 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
14.7 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 3.3 cu km/yr (0%/0%/99%)
per capita: 377.6 cu m/yr (2003)

Natural hazards:
recurring droughts; frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer; floods during rainy

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 & Society

noun: Somali(s)
adjective: Somali

Ethnic groups:
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)

country comparison to the world: 85
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 2014 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 44% (male 2,293,746/female 2,298,442)
15-24 years: 18.9% (male 995,102/female 970,630)
25-54 years: 31.2% (male 1,681,705/female 1,571,586)
55-64 years: 3.6% (male 180,622/female 199,059)
65 years and over: 2.3% (male 92,707/female 144,444) (2014 est.)

Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 99.1 %
youth dependency ratio: 93.4 %
elderly dependency ratio: 5.6 %
potential support ratio: 17.8 (2014 est.)

Median age:
total: 17.7 years
male: 17.9 years
female: 17.6 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate:
1.75% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70

Birth rate:
40.87 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8

Death rate:
13.91 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9

Net migration rate:
-9.51 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212

urban population: 37.7% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 3.79% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas – population:
MOGADISHU (capital) 1.554 million (2011)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:
1,000 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
country comparison to the world: 3

Infant mortality rate:
total: 100.14 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 3
male: 108.89 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 91.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 51.58 years
country comparison to the world: 217
male: 49.58 years
female: 53.65 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate:
6.08 children born/woman (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4

Contraceptive prevalence rate:
14.6% (2006)

Physicians density:
0.04 physicians/1,000 population (2006)

Drinking water source:
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.)

Sanitation facility access:
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.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:
0.5% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS:
31,200 (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70

HIV/AIDS – deaths:
2,500 (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55

Major infectious diseases:
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)

Obesity – adult prevalence rate:
4.8% (2008)
country comparison to the world: 162

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
32.8% (2006)
country comparison to the world: 10

Education expenditures:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 37.8%
male: 49.7%
female: 25.8% (2001 est.)

Child labor – children ages 5-14:
total number: 1,148,265
percentage: 49 % (2006 est.)


Country name:
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

Government type:
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)

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

previous 1961, 1979; latest drafted 12 June 2012, approved 1 August 2012 (provisional) (2012)

Legal system:
mixed legal system of civil law, Islamic law, and customary law (referred to as Xeer)

International law organization participation:
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: resident HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud (since 10 September 2012)
head of government: Prime Minister ABDIWELLI Sheikh Ahmed (since 21 December 2013); Deputy Prime Minister Ridwan HIRSI Mohamed (since 17 January 2014)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister, approved by the National Parliament; note – new cabinet sworn in 22 January 2014
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president elected by the National Parliament; election last held 10 September 2012 (next to be held NA)
election results: HASSAN SHEIKH Mahamud elected president; National Parliament vote – HASSAN SHEIKH Mahamud 190, Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed 79; the prime minister is chosen by the president and confirmed by the National Parliament

Legislative branch:
bicameral National Parliament consisting of the House of the People of the Federal Parliament (275 seats, elected by Somali citizens) and the Upper House of the Federal Parliament (54 seats, elected by people of the federal member states)
note: the inaugural House of the People in September 2012 was appointed by clan elders; as of December 2013, the Upper House has not been formed

Judicial branch:
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 (TNC), 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

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 Somali Government is represented in the US through its Permanent Mission to the UN

Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Somalia; US interests are represented by the US Special Representative for Somalia, Ambassador James P. MCANULTY, 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

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 North East Province (Kenya)

National symbol(s):

National anthem:
name: “Qolobaa Calankeed” (Every Nation Has its own Flag)


Economy – overview:
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.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$5.896 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
$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: 127
2.6% (2012 est.)
2.6% (2008 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP):
$600 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 226
$600 (2009 est.)
$600 (2008 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use:
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%
(2009 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 59.3%
industry: 7.2%
services: 33.5% (2012 est.)

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:

Labor force:
3.447 million (2007)
country comparison to the world: 98

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%

revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA

Fiscal year:

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
note: businesses print their own money, so inflation rates cannot be easily determined

Central bank discount rate:

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

$515.8 million (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173
$594.3 million (2011 est.)

Exports – commodities:
livestock, bananas, hides, fish, charcoal, scrap metal

Exports – partners:
UAE 51.7%, Yemen 18.1%, Oman 13% (2012)

$1.263 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
$798 million (2006 est.)

Imports – commodities:
manufactures, petroleum products, foodstuffs, construction materials, qat

Imports – partners:
Djibouti 27.3%, India 13.2%, Kenya 7.1%, China 6.7%, Pakistan 6.4%, Oman 5.1%, UAE 5%, Yemen 4.4% (2012)

Debt – external:
$3.05 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
$2.942 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Exchange rates:
Somali shillings (SOS) per US dollar –
1,600 (2012 est.)
31,900 (2011 est.)

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