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Africa :: Somalia Print
Page last updated on October 03, 2019
  • Introduction :: Somalia
  • Background field listing

    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 UN-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
  • Location field listing
    Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, east of Ethiopia
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    10 00 N, 49 00 E
    Map references field listing
    Area field listing
    total: 637,657 sq km
    land: 627,337 sq km
    water: 10,320 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 45
    Area - comparative field listing
    almost five times the size of Alabama; slightly smaller than Texas
    Area comparison map: Area comparison map
    Land boundaries field listing
    total: 2,385 km
    border countries (3): Djibouti 61 km, Ethiopia 1640 km, Kenya 684 km
    Coastline field listing
    3,025 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 200 nm
    Climate field listing
    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
    Terrain field listing
    mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north
    Elevation field listing
    mean elevation: 410 m
    lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Shimbiris 2,416 m
    Natural resources field listing
    uranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt, natural gas, likely oil reserves
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 70.3% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 1.8% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 68.5% (2011 est.)
    forest: 10.6% (2011 est.)
    other: 19.1% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    2,000 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    distribution varies greatly throughout the country; least densely populated areas are in the northeast and central regions, as well as areas along the Kenyan border; most populated areas are in and around the cities of Mogadishu, Marka, Boorama, Hargeysa, and Baidoa
    Natural hazards field listing
    recurring droughts; frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer; floods during rainy season
    Environment - current issues field listing
    water scarcity; contaminated water contributes to human health problems; improper waste disposal; deforestation; land degradation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
    Environment - international agreements field listing
    party to: Biodiversity, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    Geography - note field listing
    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
  • Population field listing
    11,259,029 (July 2018 est.)

    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

    country comparison to the world: 81
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Somali(s)
    adjective: Somali
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Somali 85%, Bantu and other non-Somali 15% (including 30,000 Arabs)
    Languages field listing
    Somali (official, according to the 2012 Transitional Federal Charter), Arabic (official, according to the 2012 Transitional Federal Charter), Italian, English
    Religions field listing
    Sunni Muslim (Islam) (official, according to the 2012 Transitional Federal Charter)
    Demographic profile field listing

    Somalia scores very low for most humanitarian indicators, suffering from poor governance, protracted internal conflict, underdevelopment, economic decline, poverty, social and gender inequality, and environmental degradation. Despite civil war and famine raising its mortality rate, Somalia’s high fertility rate and large proportion of people of reproductive age maintain rapid population growth, with each generation being larger than the prior one. More than 60% of Somalia’s population is younger than 25, and the fertility rate is among the world’s highest at almost 6 children per woman – a rate that has decreased little since the 1970s.

    A lack of educational and job opportunities is a major source of tension for Somalia’s large youth cohort, making them vulnerable to recruitment by extremist and pirate groups. Somalia has one of the world’s lowest primary school enrollment rates – just over 40% of children are in school – and one of world’s highest youth unemployment rates. Life expectancy is low as a result of high infant and maternal mortality rates, the spread of preventable diseases, poor sanitation, chronic malnutrition, and inadequate health services.

    During the two decades of conflict that followed the fall of the SIAD regime in 1991, hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes. Today Somalia is the world’s third highest source country for refugees, after Syria and Afghanistan. Insecurity, drought, floods, food shortages, and a lack of economic opportunities are the driving factors.

    As of 2016, more than 1.1 million Somali refugees were hosted in the region, mainly in Kenya, Yemen, Egypt, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Uganda, while more than 1.1 million Somalis were internally displaced. Since the implementation of a tripartite voluntary repatriation agreement among Kenya, Somalia, and the UNHCR in 2013, nearly 40,000 Somali refugees have returned home from Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp – still houses to approximately 260,000 Somalis. The flow sped up rapidly after the Kenyan Government in May 2016 announced its intention to close the camp, worsening security and humanitarian conditions in receiving communities in south-central Somalia. Despite the conflict in Yemen, thousands of Somalis and other refugees and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa risk their lives crossing the Gulf of Aden to reach Yemen and beyond (often Saudi Arabia). Bossaso in Puntland overtook Obock, Djibouti, as the primary departure point in mid-2014.

    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 42.87% (male 2,410,215 /female 2,416,629)
    15-24 years: 19.35% (male 1,097,358 /female 1,081,762)
    25-54 years: 31.23% (male 1,821,823 /female 1,694,873)
    55-64 years: 4.35% (male 245,744 /female 243,893)
    65 years and over: 2.19% (male 95,845 /female 150,887) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios field listing
    total dependency ratio: 97.4 (2015 est.)
    youth dependency ratio: 92.1 (2015 est.)
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.3 (2015 est.)
    potential support ratio: 18.8 (2015 est.)
    Median age field listing
    total: 18.2 years
    male: 18.4 years
    female: 18 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    Population growth rate field listing
    2.08% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    Birth rate field listing
    39.3 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    Death rate field listing
    12.8 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    Net migration rate field listing
    -5.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    Population distribution field listing
    distribution varies greatly throughout the country; least densely populated areas are in the northeast and central regions, as well as areas along the Kenyan border; most populated areas are in and around the cities of Mogadishu, Marka, Boorama, Hargeysa, and Baidoa
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 45.6% of total population (2019)
    rate of urbanization: 4.23% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    2.18 million MOGADISHU (capital) (2019)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
    Maternal mortality rate field listing
    829 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 93 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 101.4 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 84.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 53.2 years
    male: 51 years
    female: 55.4 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 220
    Total fertility rate field listing
    5.7 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: urban: 69.6% of population
    rural: 8.8% of population
    total: 31.7% of population
    unimproved: urban: 30.4% of population
    rural: 91.2% of population
    total: 68.3% of population (2011 est.)
    Physicians density field listing
    0.02 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
    Hospital bed density field listing
    8.7 beds/1,000 population (2014)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    improved: urban: 52% of population (2011 est.)
    rural: 6.3% of population (2011 est.)
    total: 23.6% of population (2011 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 48% of population (2011 est.)
    rural: 93.7% of population (2011 est.)
    total: 76.4% of population (2011 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    0.1% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    11,000 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    <1000 (2018 est.)
    Major infectious diseases field listing
    degree of risk: very high (2016)
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever (2016)
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and Rift Valley fever (2016)
    water contact diseases: schistosomiasis (2016)
    animal contact diseases: rabies (2016)
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing
    8.3% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    Children under the age of 5 years underweight field listing
    23% (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    Education expenditures field listing
  • Government :: Somalia
  • Country name field listing
    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
    etymology: "Land of the Somali" (ethnic group)
    Government type field listing
    federal parliamentary republic
    Capital field listing
    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 field listing
    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
    Independence 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 field listing
    Foundation of the Somali Republic, 1 July (1960); note - 26 June (1960) in Somaliland
    Constitution field listing
    history: previous 1961, 1979; latest drafted 12 June 2012, approved 1 August 2012 (provisional)
    amendments: proposed by the federal government, by members of the state governments, the Federal Parliament, or by public petition; proposals require review by a joint committee of Parliament with inclusion of public comments and state legislatures’ comments; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Parliament and approval by a majority of votes cast in a referendum; constitutional clauses on Islamic principles, the federal system, human rights and freedoms, powers and authorities of the government branches, and inclusion of women in national institutions cannot be amended (2017)
    International law organization participation field listing
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt
    Citizenship field listing
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Somalia
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years
    Suffrage field listing
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: President Mohamed ABDULLAHI Mohamed "Farmaajo" (since 8 February 2017)
    head of government: Prime Minister Hassan Ali KHAYRE (since 1 March 2017)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister, approved by the House of the People
    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 8 February 2017 (previously scheduled for 30 September 2016 but postponed repeatedly); prime minister appointed by the president, approved by the House of the People
    election results: Mohamed ABDULLAHI Mohamed "Farmaajo" elected president in second round; Federal Parliament second round vote - Mohamed ABDULLAHI Mohamed "Farmaajo" (TPP) 184, HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud (PDP) 97, Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed (ARS) 46
    Legislative branch field listing
    description: bicameral Federal Parliament to consist of:
    Upper House (54 seats; senators indirectly elected by state assemblies to serve 4-year terms)
    House of the People (275 seats; members indirectly elected by electoral colleges, each consisting of 51 delegates selected by the 136 Traditional Elders in consultation with sub-clan elders; members serve 4-year terms)
    Upper House - first held 10 October 2016 (next NA)
    House of the People - first held 23 October - 10 November 2016 (next NA)
    election results:
    Upper House - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 41, women 13, percent of women 24.1%
    House of the People - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 208, women 67, percent of women 24.4%; note - total Parliament percent of women 24.3%

    note: the inaugural House of the People was appointed in September 2012 by clan elders; in 2016 and 2017, the Federal Parliament became bicameral with elections scheduled for 10 October 2016 for the Upper House and 23 October to 10 November 2016 for the House of the People; while the elections were delayed, they were eventually held in most regions despite voting irregularities; on 27 December 2016, 41 Upper House senators and 242 House of the People members were sworn in

    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: 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 the Appeal Court were established; yet most regions have reverted to local forms of conflict resolution, either secular, traditional Somali customary law, or 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 courts; federal member state-level courts; military courts; sharia courts
    Political parties and leaders field listing
    Cosmopolitan Democratic Party [Yarow Sharef ADEN]
    Daljir Party or DP [Hassan MOALIM]
    Democratic Green Party of Somalia or DGPS [Abdullahi Y. MAHAMOUD]
    Democratic Party of Somalia or DPS [Maslah Mohamed SIAD]
    Green Leaf for Democracy or GLED
    Hiil Qaran
    Justice and Communist Party [Mohamed NUR]
    Justice and Development of Democracy and Self-Respectfulness Party or CAHDI [Abdirahman Abdigani IBRAHIM Bile]
    Justice Party [SAKARIYE Haji]
    Liberal Party of Somalia
    National Democratic Party [Abdirashid ALI]
    National Unity Party (Xisbiga MIdnimo-Quaran) [Abdurahman BAADIYOW]
    Peace and Development Party or PDP
    Somali Green Party (local chapter of Federation of Green Parties of Africa)
    Somali National Party or SNP [Mohammed Ameen Saeed AHMED]
    Somali People's Party [Salad JEELE]
    Somali Society Unity Party [Yasin MAALIM]
    Tayo or TPP [Mohamed Abdullahi MOHAMED]
    Tiir Party [Fadhil Sheik MOHAMUD]
    Union for Peace and Development or UPD [HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud]
    United and Democratic Party [FAUZIA Haji]
    United Somali Parliamentarians
    United Somali Republican Party [Ali TIMA-JLIC]
    inactive: Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia; reportedly inactive since 2009
    International organization participation field listing
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    Ambassador Ali Sharif AHMED (since 16 September 2019)
    chancery: 1705 DeSales Street NW, Suite 300,Washington, DC 20036
    telephone: [1] (202) 296-0570, [1] (202) 833-1523
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador Donald YAMAMOTO (since 17 Nov 2018)
    telephone: 254 20 363-6000
    embassy: Mogadishu, Somalia (reopened October 2019 on the grounds of the Mogadishu Airport)
    mailing address: P.O. Box 606 Village Market
    00621 Nairobi, Kenya
    FAX: 254 20 363-6157
    Flag description field listing
    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) field listing
    leopard; national colors: blue, white
    National anthem field listing
    name: "Qolobaa Calankeed" (Every Nation Has its own Flag)
    lyrics/music: lyrics/music: Abdullahi QARSHE

    note: adopted 2012; written in 1959

    Government - note field listing
    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
  • Economy :: Somalia
  • Economy - overview field listing

    Despite the lack of effective national governance, Somalia maintains an informal economy largely based on livestock, remittance/money transfer companies, and telecommunications. Somalia's government lacks the ability to collect domestic revenue and external debt – mostly in arrears – was estimated at about 77% of GDP in 2017.

    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. Economic activity is estimated to have increased by 2.4% in 2017 because of growth in the agriculture, construction and telecommunications sector. Somalia's small industrial sector, based on the processing of agricultural products, has largely been looted and the machinery sold as scrap metal.

    In recent years, Somalia's capital city, Mogadishu, has witnessed the development of the city's first gas stations, supermarkets, and airline flights to Turkey since the collapse of central authority in 1991. 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. Formalized economic growth has yet to expand outside of Mogadishu and a few regional capitals, and within the city, security concerns dominate business. 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 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 continues to threaten these services’ ability to operate in Western nations. In 2017, Somalia elected a new president and collected a record amount of foreign aid and investment, a positive sign for economic recovery.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $20.44 billion (2017 est.)
    $19.98 billion (2016 est.)
    $19.14 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2016 US dollars

    country comparison to the world: 148
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $7.052 billion (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    2.3% (2017 est.)
    4.4% (2016 est.)
    3.9% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 143
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $NA (2017)
    $NA (2016)
    $NA (2015)
    GDP - composition, by end use field listing
    household consumption: 72.6% (2015 est.)
    government consumption: 8.7% (2015 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 20% (2015 est.)
    investment in inventories: 0.8% (2016 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 0.3% (2015 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -1.6% (2015 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 60.2% (2013 est.)
    industry: 7.4% (2013 est.)
    services: 32.5% (2013 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    bananas, sorghum, corn, coconuts, rice, sugarcane, mangoes, sesame seeds, beans; cattle, sheep, goats; fish
    Industries field listing
    light industries, including sugar refining, textiles, wireless communication
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    3.5% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    Labor force field listing
    4.154 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    Labor force - by occupation field listing
    agriculture: 71%
    industry: 29%
    industry and services: 29% (1975)
    Unemployment rate field listing


    Population below poverty line field listing
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 145.3 million (2014 est.)
    expenditures: 151.1 million (2014 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    2.1% (of GDP) (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 221
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    -0.1% (of GDP) (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    Public debt field listing
    76.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
    93% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 39
    Fiscal year field listing
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    1.5% (2017 est.)
    -71.1% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    Central bank discount rate field listing


    Commercial bank prime lending rate field listing


    Current account balance field listing
    -$464 million (2017 est.)
    -$427 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    Exports field listing
    $819 million (2014 est.)
    $779 million (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    Exports - partners field listing
    Oman 31.7%, Saudi Arabia 18.7%, UAE 16.3%, Nigeria 5.1%, Yemen 4.8%, Pakistan 4% (2017)
    Exports - commodities field listing
    livestock, bananas, hides, fish, charcoal, scrap metal
    Imports field listing
    $94.43 billion (2018 est.)
    $80.07 billion (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    Imports - commodities field listing
    manufactures, petroleum products, foodstuffs, construction materials, qat
    Imports - partners field listing
    China 17.6%, India 17.2%, Ethiopia 10.5%, Oman 10.3%, Kenya 6.9%, Turkey 5.3%, Malaysia 4.1% (2017)
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold field listing
    $30.45 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    Debt - external field listing
    $5.3 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home field listing


    Exchange rates field listing
    Somali shillings (SOS) per US dollar -
    23,960 (2016 est.)
  • Energy :: Somalia
  • Electricity access field listing
    population without electricity: 12 million (2017)
    electrification - total population: 17% (2017)
    electrification - urban areas: 35% (2017)
    electrification - rural areas: 4% (2017)
    Electricity - production field listing
    339 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    315.3 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    Electricity - exports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 200
    Electricity - imports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    85,000 kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 182
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    93% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    7% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    Crude oil - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 196
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    5,600 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    5,590 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    Natural gas - production field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    5.663 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    852,500 Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
  • Communications :: Somalia
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 48,000
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 6,653,040
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 60 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    Telephone system field listing
    general assessment: the public telecom 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 some of the lowest rates on the continent; Al Shabaab Islamic militant group has forced closure of Internet services in some parts of the country; new telecom regulatory sector in place (2018)
    domestic: seven networks compete for customers in the mobile sector; some of these mobile-service providers offer fixed-lines and Internet services; fixed-line less than 1 per 100 and mobile-cellular 60 per 100 (2018)
    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; this connection ended the country's expensive satellite-dependent Internet access; contracts signed to build DARE and G2A submarine cable systems; SEACOM cable lands in Somalia
    Broadcast media field listing
    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 (2019)
    Internet country code field listing
    Internet users field listing
    total: 203,366
    percent of population: 1.9% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    total: 92,000
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
  • Transportation :: Somalia
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 1 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 1 (2015)
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 251,652 (2015)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 0 mt-km (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
    6O (2016)
    Airports field listing
    61 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    total: 6 (2013)
    over 3,047 m: 4 (2013)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
    total: 55 (2013)
    over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 5 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 20 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 23 (2013)
    under 914 m: 6 (2013)
    Roadways field listing
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 5
    by type: general cargo 1, other 4 (2018)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Berbera, Kismaayo
  • Military and Security :: Somalia
  • Military branches field listing
    Somali National Security Forces:  Somali National Army (SNA), Somali National Police (SNP, includes a maritime unit), National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) (2019)
    Military service age and obligation field listing
    18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2012)
    Maritime threats field listing
    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; during 2018, two vessels were attacked compared with five in 2017; Operation Ocean Shield, the NATO naval task force established in 2009 to combat Somali piracy, concluded its operations in December 2016 as a result of the drop in reported incidents over the last few years; 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; Somali pirates tend to be heavily armed with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades; the use of "mother ships" from which skiffs can be launched to attack vessels allows these pirates to extend the range of their operations hundreds of nautical miles offshore
    Military - note field listing
    the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has operated in the country with the approval of the United Nations (UN) since 2007; AMISOM's peacekeeping mission includes assisting Somali forces in providing security for a stable political process, enabling the gradual handing over of security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somali security forces, and reducing the threat posed by Al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups; as of 2019, AMISOM had more than 22,000 military and police personnel from six African countries deployed in Somalia 

    UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) is mandated by the Security Council to work with the Federal Government of Somalia to support national reconciliation, provide advice on peace-building and state-building, monitor the human rights situation, and help coordinate the efforts of the international community

    the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) is responsible for providing logistical field support to AMISOM, UNSOM, the Somali National Army, and the Somali Police Force on joint operations with AMISOM (2019)
  • Terrorism :: Somalia
  • Terrorist groups - home based field listing
    aim(s): discredit and destabilize the Federal Government of Somalia and target any countries or entities that support Somalia's fight against al-Shabaab; establish Islamic rule across Somalia
    area(s) of operation: a core al-Qa'ida affiliate that maintains strongholds in rural areas in the south, where it controls a large swathe of the Lower and Middle Juba and Lower Shabelle regions; responsible for numerous high-profile bombings and shootings throughout Somalia and in the northeast in Puntland State (April 2018)
    Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) networks in Somalia:
    aim(s): replace the Federal Government of Somalia with an Islamic state and implement ISIS's strict interpretation of Sharia; replace al-Shabaab as the dominant armed opposition to federal authority in Somalia
    area(s) of operation: directs operations, recruitment, and training from Puntland, the semiautonomous region in the northeast; conducts sporadic attacks against African Union and Somali Government personnel throughout the country (April 2018)
  • Transnational Issues :: Somalia
  • Disputes - international field listing

    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 field listing
    refugees (country of origin): 21,295 (Ethiopia) (refugees and asylum seekers), 13,153 (Yemen) (refugees and asylum seekers) (2019)
    IDPs: 2.65 million (civil war since 1988, clan-based competition for resources; 2011 famine; insecurity because of fighting between al-Shabaab and the Transitional Federal Government's allied forces) (2019)