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Somalia Flag

Capital City
: Mogadishu

Border countries: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya

Map of Somalia



Background:  The SIAD BARRE regime was ousted in January 1991; turmoil,
factional fighting, and anarchy have followed for eleven years. 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 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
legitimate, representative government. Puntland also claims Sool and
eastern 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 Transitional National Government
(TNG) was created in August 2000 in Arta, Djibouti which was attended
by a broad representation of Somali clans. The TNG has a three-year
mandate to create a permanent national Somali government. The TNG does
not recognize Somaliland as an independent republic but so far has
been unable to reunite either Somaliland or Puntland with the unstable
regions in the south. Numerous warlords and factions are still fighting
for control of Mogadishu and the other southern regions. Suspicion of
Somali links with global terrorism complicate the picture.

Geography Somalia

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

Geographic coordinates:  10 00 N, 49 00 E

Map references:  Africa

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

Coastline:  3,025 km

Maritime claims:  territorial sea: 200 NM

Climate:  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

Terrain:  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: 2% permanent crops: 0% other: 98% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  2,000 sq km (1998 est.)

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: Endangered Species,
Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection signed, but not ratified: Marine
Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban

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

Population:  7,753,310 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 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 44.7% (male 1,737,491; female 1,730,237)
15-64 years: 52.6% (male 2,054,243; female 2,019,980) 65 years and over:
2.7% (male 92,617; female 118,742) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  3.46% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  46.83 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  17.99 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  5.75 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  122.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   48.65 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  7.05 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  NA%

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  NA

Nationality:  noun: Somali(s) adjective: Somali

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

Religions:  Sunni Muslim

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

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

Government Somalia

Country name:   Somalia former: Government type:  no permanent national
government; transitional, parliamentary national government

Capital:  Mogadishu

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

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)

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

Constitution:  25 August 1979, presidential approval 23 September 1979
note: the Transitional National Government formed in August 2000 has a
mandate to create a new constitution and hold elections within three years

Legal system:  no national system; Shari'a and secular courts are in
some localities

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: ABDIKASSIM Salad Hassan (since
26 August 2000); note - Interim President ABDIKASSIM was chosen for
a three-year term by a 245-member National Assembly serving as a
transitional government; the present political situation is still
unstable, particularly in the south, with interclan fighting and
random banditry election results:  at the Djibouti-sponsored Arta Peace
Conference on 26 August 2000 by a broad representation of Somali clans
that comprised a transitional National Assembly head of government:
Prime Minister HASSAN Abshir Farah (since 12 November 2001) cabinet:
Cabinet appointed by the prime minister and sworn in on 20 October 2000;
as of 1 January 2002, the Cabinet was in caretaker status following a
no-confidence vote in October 2001 that ousted HASSAN's predecessor

Legislative branch:  unicameral People's Assembly or Golaha Shacbiga note:
fledgling parliament; a transitional 245-member National Assembly began
to meet on 13 August 2000 in the town of Arta, Djibouti and is now based
in Mogadishu

Judicial branch:  following the breakdown of national government, most
regions have reverted to Islamic (Shari'a) law with a provision for
appeal of all sentences

Political parties and leaders:  none

Political pressure groups and leaders:  numerous clan and subclan factions
are currently vying for power

International organization participation:  ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF,
ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, UN,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  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

Diplomatic representation from the US:  the US does not have an embassy
in Somalia; US interests are represented by the US Embassy in Nairobi
at Mombasa Road; mail address: P. O. Box 30137, Unit 64100, Nairobi;
APO AE 09831; telephone: [254] (2) 537800; FAX [254] (2) 537810

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

Government - note:  An interim Transitional National Government -
with a president, prime minister, and 245-member National Assembly -
was established in Mogadishu in October 2000. However, other governing
bodies continue to exist and control various cities and regions of
the country, including Somaliland, Puntland, and traditional clan and
faction strongholds.

Economy Somalia

Economy - overview:  One of the world's poorest and least
developed countries, Somalia has few resources and is prone to
drought. Moreover, much of the economy has been devastated by civil war
since 1991. Agriculture is the most important sector, with livestock
accounting for about 40% of GDP and about 65% of export earnings. Nomads
and semi-nomads, who are dependent upon livestock for their livelihood,
make up a large portion of the population. Livestock, hides, charcoal,
and bananas are Somalia's principal exports, while sugar, sorghum, corn,
fish, 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 $200 million and
$500 million in remittances annually.  Mogadishu's main market offers
a variety of goods from food to the newest electronic gadgets. Hotels
continue to operate, and security is provided by militias. Ongoing
civil disturbances and clan rivalries, however, have interfered with any
broad-based economic development and international aid arrangements. The
failure of spring rains caused major food shortages in the south in 2001.
Economic data is scare and prone to a wide margin of error.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $4.1 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  3% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $550 (2001 est.)

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

Population below poverty line:  NA%

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

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  over 100% (businesses print their
own money) (2000 est.)

Labor force:  3.7 million (very few are skilled laborers) (1993 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture (mostly pastoral nomadism)
71%, industry and services 29%

Unemployment rate:  NA%

Budget:  revenues: $NA expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures
of $NA

Industries:  a few light industries, including sugar refining, textiles,
petroleum refining (mostly shut down), wireless communication

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

Electricity - production:  250 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0%
(2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  232.5 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

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

Exports:  $186 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Exports - commodities:  livestock, bananas, hides, fish, charcoal,
scrap metal (1999)

Exports - partners:  Saudi Arabia 29%, UAE 29%, Yemen 28% (calculated
through partners) (2000)

Imports:  $314 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Imports - commodities:  manufactures, petroleum products, foodstuffs,
construction materials, qat (1995)

Imports - partners:  Djibouti 27%, Kenya 12%, India 9% (2000)

Debt - external:  $2.6 billion (2000 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $60 million (1999 est.)

Currency:  Somali shilling (SOS)

Currency code:  SOS

Exchange rates:  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:  NA

Communications Somalia

Telephones - main lines in use:  NA

Telephones - mobile cellular:  NA

Telephone system:  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: international
connections are available from Mogadishu by satellite (2001)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 0, FM 1, shortwave 5 (2001)

Radios:  470,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  3 note: two in Mogadishu; one in Hargeisa

Televisions:  135,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .so

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

Internet users:  200 (2000)

Transportation Somalia

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: 22,100 km paved: 2,608 km unpaved: 19,492 km (1996)

Waterways:  none

Pipelines:  crude oil 15 km

Ports and harbors:  Boosaaso, Berbera, Chisimayu (Kismaayo), Merca,

Merchant marine:  none (2002 est.)

Airports:  54 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 6 over 3,047 m: 4 1,524 to 2,437 m:
1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:   15 914 to 1,523 m: Military Somalia

Military branches:  A Somali National Army is being reformed 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 manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 1,881,634 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 1,040,662
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $15.3 million (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  0.9% (FY01)

Transnational Issues Somalia

Disputes - international:  most of the southern half of the boundary with
Ethiopia is a provisional administrative line; in the Ogaden, regional
states have established a variety of conflicting relationships with
the Transitional National Government in Mogadishu, feuding factions in
Puntland region, and the economically stabile break-away "Somaliland"
region; Djibouti maintains economic ties and border accords with
"Somaliland" leadership while politically supporting Somali Transitional
National Government in Mogadishu; arms smuggling and Oromo rebel
activities prompt strict border regime with Kenya

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002




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