ExchangeRate.com Logo
Login | Register |  My Account |   |   |   |  Suggest XR to your friends Print this page
Exchange Rate Home >> Country Info >> Somalia

   | Post | View
Select Country:
  Somalia   
Introduction
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational
Issues
  Introduction Back To Top

Background:
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 that managed to impose a degree of stability in the country for a couple of decades. 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 self-declared 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. A two-year peace process, led by the Government of Kenya under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), concluded in October 2004 with the election of Abdullahi YUSUF Ahmed as President of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia and the formation of an interim government, known as the Somalia Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs). The Somalia TFIs include a 275-member parliamentary body, known as the Transitional Federal Assembly (TFA), a transitional Prime Minister, Nur "Adde" Hassan HUSSEIN, and a 90-member cabinet. The TFIs are based on the Transitional Federal Charter, 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. While its institutions remain weak, the TFG continues to reach out to Somali stakeholders and work with international donors to help build the governance capacity of the TFIs and work towards national elections in 2009. In June 2006, a loose coalition of clerics, business leaders, and Islamic court militias known as the Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) defeated powerful Mogadishu warlords and took control of the capital. The Courts continued to expand militarily throughout much of southern Somalia and threatened to overthrow the TFG in Baidoa. Ethiopian and TFG forces, concerned over links between some CIC factions and the al-Qaida East Africa network and the al-Qaida operatives responsible for the bombings of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998, intervened in late December 2006, resulting in the collapse of the CIC as an organization. However, the TFG continues to face violent resistance from extremist elements, such as the al-Shabaab militia previously affiliated with the now-defunct CIC.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 3.29 cu km/yr (0%/0%/100%)
per capita: 400 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
15.7 cu km (1997)

Land boundaries:
total: 2,340 km
border countries: Djibouti 58 km, Ethiopia 1,600 km, Kenya 682 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection

Climate:
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

Map references:
Africa

Geographic coordinates:
10 00 N, 49 00 E

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

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Shimbiris 2,416 m

Terrain:
mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north

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

Area:
total: 637,657 sq km
land: 627,337 sq km
water: 10,320 sq km

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

Coastline:
3,025 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Texas

Irrigated land:
2,000 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
famine; use of contaminated water contributes to human health problems; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 200 nm

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

Land use:
arable land: 1.64%
permanent crops: 0.04%
other: 98.32% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
6.6 children born/woman (2008 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: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
43,000 (2001 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 49.25 years
male: 47.43 years
female: 51.12 years (2008 est.)

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 (2008)

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

Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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

Median age:
total: 17.5 years
male: 17.4 years
female: 17.6 years (2008 est.)

Population:
9,558,666
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 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
NA

Population growth rate:
2.824% (2008 est.)

Languages:
Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English

Death rate:
15.89 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 110.97 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 120.17 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 101.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA

Age structure:
0-14 years: 44.7% (male 2,143,758/female 2,132,869)
15-64 years: 52.8% (male 2,525,562/female 2,516,879)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 100,655/female 138,943) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
44.12 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Religions:
Sunni Muslim

Nationality:
noun: Somali(s)
adjective: Somali

  Government Back To Top

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

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

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Government type:
no permanent national government; transitional, parliamentary federal government

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

Diplomatic representation in the US:
Somalia does not have an embassy in the US (ceased operations on 8 May 1991); note - the TFG is represented in the United States through its Permanent Mission to the United Nations

International organization participation:
ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AU, CAEU, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITSO, ITU, LAS, NAM, OIC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO

Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly
note: unicameral Transitional Federal Assembly (TFA) (275 seats; 244 members appointed by the four major clans (61 for each clan), 31 seats allocated to smaller clans and subclans)

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

Flag description:
light blue with a large white five-pointed star in the center; blue field influenced by the flag of the UN

Independence:
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)

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

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Somalia
local long form: Jamhuuriyada Demuqraadiga Soomaaliyeed
local short form: Soomaaliya
former: Somali Republic, Somali Democratic Republic

Political parties and leaders:
none

Capital:
name: Mogadishu
geographic coordinates: 2 04 N, 45 22 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Constitution:
25 August 1979, presidential approval 23 September 1979
note: the formation of transitional governing institutions, known as the Transitional Federal Government, is currently ongoing

Executive branch:
chief of state: Transitional Federal President Sheikh Sharif 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
head of government: Prime Minister Nur HASSAN Hussein (since 24 November 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister and approved by the Transitional Federal Assembly
election results: Abdullahi YUSUF Ahmed, the former leader of the semi-autonomous Puntland region of Somalia, was elected president by the Transitional Federal Assembly

Administrative divisions:
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

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

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
UAE 50.7%, Yemen 21%, Oman 6.1% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
260.4 million kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Debt - external:
$3 billion (2001 est.)

Unemployment rate:
NA%

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$600 (2008 est.)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$5.756 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$2.6 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
Somali shillings (SOS) per US dollar - NA (2007), 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

GDP - real growth rate:
2.6% (2008 est.)

Labor force:
3.7 million (few skilled laborers) (1975)

Imports - partners:
Djibouti 34.4%, India 9.1%, Kenya 9%, Oman 6%, UAE 5.6%, Yemen 5.5% (2007)

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

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 65%
industry: 10%
services: 25% (2000 est.)

Oil - imports:
4,772 bbl/day (2005)

Exports:
$300 million f.o.b. (2006)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Somali shilling (SOS)

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 about 65% 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 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 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 are supported with private-security militias. Somalia's arrears to the IMF continued to grow in 2008. Statistics on Somalia's GDP, growth, per capita income, and inflation should be viewed skeptically. In late December 2004, a major tsunami caused an estimated 150 deaths and resulted in destruction of property in coastal areas.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

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

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

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
NA%

Electricity - production:
280 million kWh (2006 est.)

Imports:
$798 million f.o.b. (2006)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 71%
industry and services: 29% (1975)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
5.663 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
5,040 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Currency code:
SOS

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

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

Economic aid - recipient:
$236.4 million (2005 est.)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA

Fiscal year:
NA

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
98,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
100,000 (2007)

Televisions:
135,000 (1997)

Internet country code:
.so

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 11 (also 1 station each in Puntland and Somaliland), shortwave 1 (in Mogadishu) (2001)

Radios:
470,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
600,000 (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
4 (2 in Mogadishu and 2 in Hargeisa) (2001)

Telephone system:
general assessment: the public telecommunications system was almost completely destroyed or dismantled during the civil war; 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 (2001)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
3 (one each in Boosaaso, Hargeisa, and Mogadishu) (2000)

Internet hosts:
1 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

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

Merchant marine:
total: 1
by type: cargo 1
foreign-owned: 1 (UAE 1) (2008)

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 (2007)

Roadways:
total: 22,100 km
paved: 2,608 km
unpaved: 19,492 km (2000)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 60
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 20
914 to 1,523 m: 29
under 914 m: 7 (2007)

Airports:
67 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 2,181,050
females age 16-49: 2,125,558 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,274,783
females age 16-49: 1,317,991 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
no national-level armed forces (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 95,446
female: 95,339 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
0.9% of GDP (2005 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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)

Got something to say on this page? Feel free to post your comments ! Please limit your comments to discussions about the subject matter of the content. To report bugs or problems with the ExchangeRate.com web site, please use our contact form here. Thank You!

Quiz #2
  1. What famous canal was built at the narrowest point between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans?
  Atlantic-Pacific Canal
  Transcontinental Canal
  Panama Canal
  Erie Canal
Content, information, data, material, services, or products comprising this web-site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission from ExchangeRate.com Inc.. The information supplied by this web-site is believed to be accurate, but ExchangeRate.com Inc. does not warrant or guarantee such accuracy. Users are always advised to verify information with their financial and accounting advisors or with the appropriate government agencies before relying on any such information. Information contained in this web-site is intended for your personal, non-commercial use. All other uses are expressly unauthorized and prohibited to the maximum extent allowed by law.
Copyright © ExchangeRate.com Inc. 1998 - 2012