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 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 20 October, 2005

Map of Somalia

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Somalia Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
The regime of Mohamed SIAD Barre was ousted in January 1991; turmoil, factional fighting, and anarchy have followed in the years since. In May of 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, aided by the overwhelming dominance of a ruling clan and economic infrastructure left behind by British, Russian, and American military assistance programs. The regions of Bari and Nugaal and northern Mudug comprise a neighboring self-declared autonomous state of Puntland, which has been self-governing since 1998, but does not aim at independence; it has also made strides towards 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. The mandate of the Transitional National Government (TNG), created in August 2000 in Arta, Djibouti, expired in August 2003. New Somali President Abdullahi YUSUF Ahmed has formed a new Transitional Federal Government (TFG) consisting of a 275-member parliament. It was established in October 2004 to replace the TNG but has not yet moved to Mogadishu. Discussions regarding the establishment of a new government in Mogadishu are ongoing in Kenya. Numerous warlords and factions are still fighting for control of the capital city as well as for other southern regions. Suspicion of Somali links with global terrorism further complicates the picture.
   Geography    Somalia Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, east of Ethiopia
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
10 00 N, 49 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 637,657 sq km
land: 627,337 sq km
water: 10,320 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than Texas
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2,340 km
border countries: Djibouti 58 km, Ethiopia 1,600 km, Kenya 682 km
Definition Field Listing
3,025 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 200 nm
Definition Field Listing
principally desert; December to February - northeast monsoon, moderate temperatures in north and very hot in south; May to October - southwest monsoon, torrid in the north and hot in the south, irregular rainfall, hot and humid periods (tangambili) between monsoons
Definition Field Listing
mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Shimbiris 2,416 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
uranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt, natural gas, likely oil reserves
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 1.67%
permanent crops: 0.04%
other: 98.29% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
2,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
recurring droughts; frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer; floods during rainy season
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
famine; use of contaminated water contributes to human health problems; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
strategic location on Horn of Africa along southern approaches to Bab el Mandeb and route through Red Sea and Suez Canal
   People    Somalia Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
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 2005 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 44.5% (male 1,918,209/female 1,905,974)
15-64 years: 52.9% (male 2,278,406/female 2,263,602)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 96,256/female 129,182) (2005 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 17.59 years
male: 17.53 years
female: 17.65 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
3.38% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
45.62 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
16.97 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
5.19 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 116.7 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 126.06 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 107.06 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 48.09 years
male: 46.36 years
female: 49.87 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.84 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
43,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Major infectious diseases:
Definition Field Listing
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever are high risks in some locations
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2004)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Somali(s)
adjective: Somali
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Somali 85%, Bantu and other non-Somali 15% (including Arabs 30,000)
Definition Field Listing
Sunni Muslim
Definition Field Listing
Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 37.8%
male: 49.7%
female: 25.8% (2001 est.)
   Government    Somalia Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Somalia
former: Somali Republic, Somali Democratic Republic
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
no permanent national government; transitional, parliamentary federal government
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
18 regions (plural - NA, singular - gobolka); Awdal, Bakool, Banaadir, Bari, Bay, Galguduud, Gedo, Hiiraan, Jubbada Dhexe, Jubbada Hoose, Mudug, Nugaal, Sanaag, Shabeellaha Dhexe, Shabeellaha Hoose, Sool, Togdheer, Woqooyi Galbeed
Definition Field Listing
1 July 1960 (from a merger of British Somaliland, which became independent from the UK on 26 June 1960, and Italian Somaliland, which became independent from the Italian-administered UN trusteeship on 1 July 1960, to form the Somali Republic)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Foundation of the Somali Republic, 1 July (1960); note - 26 June (1960) in Somaliland
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
no national system; Shari'a and secular courts are in some localities
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: Abdullahi YUSUF Ahmed (since 14 October 2004); note - a new Transitional Federal Government consisting of a 275-member parliament was established in October 2004 but remains resident in Nairobi, Kenya, and has not extablished effective governance inside Somalia
head of government: Prime Minister Ali Muhammad GHEDI (since 24 December 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister and approved by the Transitional Federal Assembly
election results: Abdullahi YUSUF Ahmed, the leader of the Puntland region of Somalia, was elected president by the Transitional Federal Assembly
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral National Assembly
note: fledgling parliament; a 275-member Transitional Federal Assembly; the new parliament consists of 61 seats assigned to each of four large clan groups (Darod, Digil-Mirifle, Dir, and Hawiye) with the remaining 31 seats divided between minority clans
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
following the breakdown of the central government, most regions have reverted to local forms of conflict resolution, either secular, traditional clan-based arbitration, or Islamic (Shari'a) law with a provision for appeal of all sentences
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
numerous clan and subclan factions are currently vying for power
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
Somalia does not have an embassy in the US (ceased operations on 8 May 1991); note - the TNG and other factions have representatives in Washington and at the United Nations
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
the US does not have an embassy in Somalia; US interests are represented by the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya at United Nations Avenue, Gigira, Nairobi; mailing address: Unit 64100, Nairobi; APO AE 09831; telephone: [254] (20) 363-6000; FAX [254] (20) 363-6157
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
light blue with a large white five-pointed star in the center; blue field influenced by the flag of the UN
Government - note:
Definition Field Listing
although an interim government was created in 2004 other governing bodies continue to exist and control various cities and regions of the country, including the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, and traditional clan and faction strongholds
   Economy    Somalia Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Somalia's economic fortunes are driven by its deep political divisions. The northwestern area has declared its independence as the "Republic of Somaliland"; the northeastern region of Puntland is a semi-autonomous state; and the remaining southern portion is riddled with the struggles of rival factions. Economic life continues, in part because much activity is local and relatively easily protected. Agriculture is the most important sector, with livestock normally accounting for about 40% of GDP and about 65% of export earnings, but Saudi Arabia's recent ban on Somali livestock, because of Rift Valley Fever concerns, has severely hampered the sector. Nomads and semi-nomads, 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 sold as scrap metal. Despite the seeming anarchy, Somalia's service sector has managed to survive and grow. 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 exchange services have sprouted throughout the country, handling between $500 million and $1 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 militias provide security. The ongoing civil disturbances and clan rivalries, however, have interfered with any broad-based economic development and international aid arrangements. In 2004 Somalia's overdue financial obligations to the IMF continued to grow. Statistics on Somalia's GDP, growth, per capita income, and inflation should be viewed skeptically. In late December 2004, a major tsunami took an estimated 150 lives and caused destruction of properity in coastal areas.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$4.597 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.8% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $600 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 65%
industry: 10%
services: 25% (2000 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.7 million (very few are skilled laborers)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture (mostly pastoral nomadism) 71%, industry and services 29%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
note - businesses print their own money, so inflation rates cannot be sensibly determined (2004 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: NA
expenditures: NA, including capital expenditures of NA
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
cattle, sheep, goats; bananas, sorghum, corn, coconuts, rice, sugarcane, mangoes, sesame seeds, beans; fish
Definition Field Listing
a few light industries, including sugar refining, textiles, wireless communication
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
240.3 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
223.5 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.832 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$79 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
livestock, bananas, hides, fish, charcoal, scrap metal
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
UAE 39.3%, Thailand 24.3%, Yemen 12.2%, Oman 4.7% (2004)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$344 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
manufactures, petroleum products, foodstuffs, construction materials, qat
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Djibouti 30.1%, Kenya 13.7%, India 8.6%, Brazil 8.5%, Oman 4.4%, UAE 4.2% (2004)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$3 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$60 million (1999 est.)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Somali shilling (SOS)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Somali shillings per US dollar - 11,000 (November 2000), 2,620 (January 1999), 7,500 (November 1997 est.), 7,000 (January 1996 est.), 5,000 (1 January 1995)
note: the Republic of Somaliland, a self-declared independent country not recognized by any foreign government, issues its own currency, the Somaliland shilling
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
   Communications    Somalia Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
100,000 (2002 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
35,000 (2002)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: the public telecommunications system was almost completely destroyed or dismantled by the civil war factions; private wireless companies offer service in most major cities and charge 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
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 0, FM 11, shortwave 1 in Mogadishu; 1 FM in Puntland, 1 FM in Somaliland (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
note: two in Mogadishu; two in Hargeisa (2001)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4 (2004)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
89,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Somalia Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 22,100 km
paved: 2,608 km
unpaved: 19,492 km (1999 est.)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Boosaaso, Berbera, Chisimayu (Kismaayo), Merca, Mogadishu
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
60 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 6
over 3,047 m: 4
2438 to 3047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 54
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 19
914 to 1,523 m: 29
under 914 m: 2 (2004 est.)
   Military    Somalia Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
A Somali National Army was attempted under the interim government; numerous factions and clans maintain independent militias, and the Somaliland and Puntland regional governments maintain their own security and police forces
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (est.) (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 1,787,727 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 1,022,360 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$18.9 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.9% (2003)
   Transnational Issues    Somalia Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
"Somaliland" secessionists provide port facilities to land-locked Ethiopia and establish commercial ties with regional states; "Puntland" and "Somaliland" "governments" seek support from neighboring states in their secessionist aspirations and in conflicts with each other; Ethiopia has only an administrative line with the Oromo region of southern Somalia and maintains alliances with local Somali clans opposed to the unrecognized Somali Interim Government, which plans eventual relocation from Kenya to Mogadishu; rival militia and clan fighting in southern Somalia periodically spills over into Kenya; most of the remaining 23,000 Somali refuges in Ethiopia are expected to be repatriated in 2005
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Definition Field Listing
IDPs: 375,000 (civil war since 1988, clan-based competition for resources) (2004)

This page was last updated on 20 October, 2005

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