Photos of Somalia

The orange and tan colors of this high-oblique photograph of the Horn of Africa indicate an arid-to-semiarid landscape in the northern half of the east African country of Somalia. Except for the darker areas where thicker vegetation can be found (usually in elevated areas), most of the vegetation in this part of Somalia is shrub brush and grasslands. The southern extent of the Saudi Arabian Peninsula is visible north across the Gulf of Aden. Image courtesy of NASA.

Introduction

Background

Between A.D. 800 and 1100, immigrant Muslim Arabs and Persians set up coastal trading posts along the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, solidifying present-day Somalia’s close trading relationship with the Arab Peninsula. In the late 19th century, Britain, France, and Italy established colonies in the Somali Peninsula that lasted until 1960, when British Somaliland gained independence and joined with Italian Somaliland to form the Republic of Somalia.

The country functioned as a parliamentary democracy until 1969, when General Mohamed SIAD Barre took control in a coup, beginning a 22-year socialist dictatorship. In an effort to centralize power, SIAD called for the eradication of the clan, the key cultural and social organizing principle in Somali society. Resistance to SIAD’s socialist leadership, which was causing a rapid deterioration of the country, prompted allied clan militias to overthrow SIAD in 1991, resulting in state collapse. Subsequent fighting between rival clans for resources and territory overwhelmed the country, causing a manmade famine and prompting international intervention. Beginning in 1993, the UN spearheaded an international humanitarian mission, but the international community largely withdrew by 1995 after an incident that became known as Black Hawk Down, in which two US military helicopters were shot down in Mogadishu. The fighting and subsequent siege and rescue resulted in 21 deaths and 82 wounded among the international forces.

International peace conferences in the 2000s resulted in a number of transitional governments that operated outside Somalia. Left largely to themselves, Somalis in the country established alternative governance structures; some areas formed their own administrations, such as Somaliland and Puntland, while others developed localized institutions. Many local populations turned to sharia courts, an Islamic judicial system that implements religious law. Several of these courts came together in 2006 to form the Islamic Courts Union (ICU). The ICU established order in many areas of central and southern Somalia, including Mogadishu, but was forced out when Ethiopia intervened militarily in 2006 on behalf of the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG). As the TFG settled in the capital, the ICU fled to rural areas or left Somalia altogether, but the organization reemerged less than a year later as the Islamic insurgent and terrorist movement al-Shabaab, which is still active today.

In 2007, the African Union (AU) established a peacekeeping force, took over security responsibility for the country, and gave the TFG space to develop Somalia’s new government. By 2012, Somali powerbrokers agreed on a provisional constitution with a loose federal structure and established a central government in Mogadishu called the Somali Federal Government (SFG). Since then, the country has seen several interim regional administrations and three presidential elections, but significant governance and security problems remain because al-Shabaab still controls large portions of the country.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

10 00 N, 49 00 E

Area

total: 637,657 sq km

land: 627,337 sq km

water: 10,320 sq km

comparison ranking: total 46

Area - comparative

almost five times the size of Alabama; slightly smaller than Texas

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 2,385 km

border countries (3): Djibouti 61 km; Ethiopia 1,640 km; Kenya 684 km

Coastline

3,025 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 200 nm; note: the US does not recognize this claim

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

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

Terrain

mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north

Elevation

highest point: Mount Shimbiris 2,460 m

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 410 m

Natural resources

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

Land use

agricultural land: 70.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 68.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 10.6% (2018 est.)

other: 19.1% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

2,000 sq km (2012)

Major aquifers

Ogaden-Juba Basin

Population distribution

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 as shown on this population distribution map

Natural hazards

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

Geography - note

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

People and Society

Population

total: 13,017,273

male: 6,546,312

female: 6,470,961 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 78; male 79; total 78

Nationality

noun: Somali(s)

adjective: Somali

Ethnic groups

predominantly Somali with lesser numbers of Arabs, Bantus, and others

Languages

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

major-language sample(s):
Buugga Xaqiiqda Aduunka, waa laga maarmaanka macluumaadka assasiga. (Somali)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Religions

Muslim 99.9% (Sunni Muslim 98.1%, Shia Muslim 1.2%, Islamic schismatic 0.6%), ethnic religionist 0.1% (2020 est.)

Demographic profile

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 as of 2020, and the fertility rate is among the world’s highest at almost 5.5 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 the 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 fourth highest source country for refugees, after Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan. Insecurity, drought, floods, food shortages, and a lack of economic opportunities are the driving factors.

As of 2022, more than 660,000 Somali refugees were hosted in the region, mainly in Kenya, Yemen, Egypt, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Uganda, while nearly 3 million Somalis were internally displaced. Since the implementation of a tripartite voluntary repatriation agreement among Kenya, Somalia, and the UNHCR in 2013, many Somali refugees have returned home, some 80,000 between 2014 and 2022.  The Kenyan Government in March 2021 ordered the closure of its two largest refugee camps, Dadaab and Kakuma, which then hosted more than 410,000 mainly Somali refugees.  However, the UN refugee agency presented a road map, including voluntary repatriation, relocation to third countries, and alternative stay options that persuaded the Kenyan Government to delay the closures.  The plan was supposed to lead to both camps being closed by 30 June 2022. Yet, as of May 2022, few Somali refugees had decided to return home because of security concerns and the lack of job prospects, instead waiting in the camps unsure of what the future held for them. Other Somali asylum seekers brave the dangers of crossing the Gulf of Aden to reach Yemen – despite its internal conflict – with aspirations to move onward to Saudi Arabia and other locations.

Age structure

0-14 years: 41.4% (male 2,689,086/female 2,694,372)

15-64 years: 55.8% (male 3,699,721/female 3,568,163)

65 years and over: 2.8% (2024 est.) (male 157,505/female 208,426)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 99.4

youth dependency ratio: 94.2

elderly dependency ratio: 5.2

potential support ratio: 19.3 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 19.1 years (2024 est.)

male: 19.3 years

female: 18.9 years

comparison ranking: total 215

Population growth rate

2.55% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 15

Birth rate

37.4 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 8

Death rate

11.2 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 23

Net migration rate

-0.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 136

Population distribution

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 as shown on this population distribution map

Urbanization

urban population: 47.9% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 4.2% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

2.610 million MOGADISHU (capital), 1.127 million Hargeysa (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

621 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 7

Infant mortality rate

total: 83.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 93.2 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 73.7 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 2

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 56.5 years (2024 est.)

male: 54.1 years

female: 59 years

comparison ranking: total population 225

Total fertility rate

5.12 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 8

Gross reproduction rate

2.52 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 96.4% of population

rural: 73.7% of population

total: 84.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 3.6% of population

rural: 26.3% of population

total: 15.8% of population (2020 est.)

Physicians density

0.02 physicians/1,000 population (2014)

Hospital bed density

0.9 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 82.4% of population

rural: 33.8% of population

total: 56.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 17.6% of population

rural: 66.2% of population

total: 43.8% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and sexually transmitted diseases: hepatitis B (2024)

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

note: on 31 August 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Somalia is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

8.3% (2016)

comparison ranking: 153

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 188

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 16.8%

women married by age 18: 35.5%

men married by age 18: 5.6% (2020 est.)

Education expenditures

0.3% of GDP (2019) NA

comparison ranking: 197

Literacy

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

Environment

Environment - current issues

water scarcity; contaminated water contributes to human health problems; improper waste disposal; deforestation; land degradation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified: Nuclear Test Ban

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

Land use

agricultural land: 70.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 68.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 10.6% (2018 est.)

other: 19.1% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 47.9% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 4.2% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Food insecurity

exceptional shortfall in aggregate food production/supplies: due to drought conditions and internal conflict - about 6.5 million people are estimated to face severe acute food insecurity between April and June 2023 as a result of consecutive poor rainy seasons since late 2020 and heightened conflict since early 2021 (2023)

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 14.28 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.65 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 20.13 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 2,326,099 tons (2016 est.)

Major aquifers

Ogaden-Juba Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 20 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 2 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 3.28 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

14.7 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Federal Republic of Somalia

conventional short form: Somalia

local long form: Jamhuuriyadda Federaalka Soomaaliya (Somali)/ Jumhuriyat as Sumal al Fidiraliyah (Arabic)

local short form: Soomaaliya (Somali)/ As Sumal (Arabic)

former: British Somaliland, Italian Somaliland, Somali Republic, Somali Democratic Republic

etymology: "Land of the Somali" (ethnic group)

Government type

federal parliamentary republic

Capital

name: Mogadishu

geographic coordinates: 2 04 N, 45 20 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: several theories attempt to explain the city's name; one of the more plausible is that it derives from "maq'ad-i-shah" meaning "the seat of the shah," reflecting the city's links with Persia

Administrative divisions

18 regions (plural - gobollo, singular - gobol); 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

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

history: previous 1961, 1979; latest drafted 12 June 2012, adopted 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; amended 2024

Legal system

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

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

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

18 years of age; universal suffrage starting with 24 June 2024 local elections

Executive branch

chief of state: President HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud (since 23 May 2022)

head of government: Prime Minister Hamza Abdi BARRE (since 25 June 2022)

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 15 May 2022 (next to be held in 2026); prime minister appointed by the president, approved by the House of the People

election results:
2022:
HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud elected president in third round - Federal Parliament percent of vote in first round - Said ABDULLAHI DENI (Kaah) 20.2%, Mohamed ABDULLAHI Mohamed "Farmaajo" (TPP) 18.3%, HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud (PDP) 16.2%, Hassan Ali KHAYRE (independent) 14.6%, other 30.7%; Federal Parliament percent of vote in second round - HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud 34.1%, Mohamed ABDULLAHI Mohamed "Farmaajo" 25.7%, Said ABDULLAHI DENI 21%, Hassan Ali KHAYRE 19.2%; Federal Parliament percent of vote in third round - HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud  66%, Mohamed ABDULLAHI Mohamed "Farmaajo" 34%

2017: Mohamed ABDULLAHI Mohamed "Farmaajo" elected president in second round; Federal Parliament number of votes in first round - HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud (PDP) 88, Mohamed ABDULLAHI Mohamed "Farmaajo" (TPP) 72, Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed (ARS) 49, other 37; Federal Parliament number of votes in second round - Mohamed ABDULLAHI Mohamed "Farmaajo" 184, HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud 97, Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed 45

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Federal Parliament to consist of:
Senate (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)

elections: Senate - first held on 10 October 2016; last held 27 July - 13 November 2021 (next to be held in 2024)
House of the People - first held 23 October - 10 November 2016 (next scheduled for September - October 2021 but postponed to November 2021 and then extended several times until April 2022; next to be held in June 2024)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 40, women 14, percentage women 25.9%

House of the People - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 221, women 54, percentage women 19.6%; total Federal Parliament percentage women 20.7%

note 1: the inaugural House of the People was appointed in September 2012 by clan elders; in 2016 and 2017, the Federal Parliament became bicameral with indirect elections scheduled for 10 October 2016 for the Upper House - renamed 'Senate' 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 of Parliament were sworn in

note 2:
despite the formation of political parties in 2020, the 2021 parliamentary elections maintained a primarily clan-based system of appointments; seats in the legislature were apportioned to Somali member states and not by party representation




Judicial branch

highest court(s): the provisional constitution stipulates the establishment of the Constitutional Court (consists of 5 judges, including the chief judge and deputy chief judge); note - under the terms of the 2004 Transitional National Charter, 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

select National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) approved parties (as of 2020):

Cosmopolitan Democratic Party [Yarow Sharef ADEN]
Green Party [Ahmed HAJI]
Himilo Qaran Party [Sharif SHEIKH AHMED]
Ilays Party [Abdulkadir OSOBLE]
Justice and Reconciliation Party
National Progressive Party
Peace and Unity Party [Asha ABDALLA]
Qaransoor Party [Abdijabaar SHEIKH AHMED]
Qiimo Qaran Party
Security and Justice Party
Social Justice Party [Mohamed NUR, chairman]
Somali Labour Party[Ali Mohamed APOLLO, chairman]
Somali Republic Party [Abdinur Ahmed DARMAN, chairman]
Somali Social Unity Party or SSUP [Yaasiin Maaxi MACALIN]
Union for Peace and Development Party or PDP [HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud]
Wadajir Party [Abdirahman Abdishakur WARSAME]






note: in 2017 an independent electoral commission (the NIEC) was inaugurated with a mandate to oversee the process of registration of political parties in the country; as of 2021, the NIEC had registered a total of 110 parties

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AU, CAEU (candidate), EAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITSO, ITU, LAS, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNHRC, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Ali Sharif AHMED (since 16 September 2019)

chancery: 1609 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 853-9164

email address and website:
info@somaliembassydc.net

https://somaliembassydc.net/

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Shane L. DIXON (since 25 July 2023)

embassy: Mogadishu, (reopened October 2019 on the grounds of the Mogadishu Airport)

mailing address: P.O. Box 606 Village Market
00621 Nairobi, Kenya

telephone: [254] 20 363-6451

email address and website:
SomaliaPublicAffairs@state.gov

https://so.usembassy.gov/

Flag description

light blue with a large white five-pointed star in the center; the blue field was originally influenced by the flag of the UN but today is said to denote the sky and the neighboring Indian Ocean; the five points of the star represent the five regions in the horn of Africa that are inhabited by Somali people: the former British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland (which together make up Somalia), Djibouti, Ogaden (Ethiopia), and the North East Province (Kenya)

National symbol(s)

leopard; national colors: blue, white

National anthem

name: "Qolobaa Calankeed" (Every Nation Has its own Flag)

lyrics/music: lyrics/music: Abdullahi QARSHE

note: adopted 2012; written in 1959

"Qolobaa Calankeed" (Every Nation Has its own Flag):

Government - note

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

Economic overview

low-income African Horn economy; 30 years of war and instability crippled economic potential; high remittances for basic survival; new fiscal federalism approach; cleared some unsustainable debt; environmentally fragile; digitally driven urbanization efforts

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$25.491 billion (2022 est.)
$24.886 billion (2021 est.)
$24.089 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 148

Real GDP growth rate

2.43% (2022 est.)
3.31% (2021 est.)
-2.56% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 158

Real GDP per capita

$1,400 (2022 est.)
$1,500 (2021 est.)
$1,500 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 218

GDP (official exchange rate)

$10.42 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.5% (2017 est.)
-71.1% (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 24

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 60.2% (2013 est.)

industry: 7.4% (2013 est.)

services: 32.5% (2013 est.)

comparison rankings: services 223; industry 214; agriculture 2

GDP - composition, by end use

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.)

Agricultural products

camel milk, milk, goat milk, sheep milk, sugarcane, fruits, sorghum, cassava, vegetables, maize (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage

Industries

light industries, including sugar refining, textiles, wireless communication

Industrial production growth rate

4.3% (2014 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 83

Labor force

3.163 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 103

Unemployment rate

19.29% (2022 est.)
19.94% (2021 est.)
19.59% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 204

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 34.7% (2021 est.)

male: 32.5%

female: 38.5%

comparison ranking: total 26

Population below poverty line

54.4% (2022 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Remittances

16.65% of GDP (2022 est.)
17.63% of GDP (2021 est.)
18.85% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $145.3 million (2014 est.)

expenditures: $151.1 million (2014 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-0.1% (of GDP) (2014 est.)

comparison ranking: 50

Public debt

76.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
93% of GDP (2014 est.)

comparison ranking: 43

Taxes and other revenues

0% (of GDP) (2020 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 214

Current account balance

-$464 million (2017 est.)
-$427 million (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 104

Exports

$819 million (2014 est.)
$779 million (2013 est.)

comparison ranking: 186

Exports - partners

UAE 50%, Oman 30%, Bulgaria 3%, India 3%, Kuwait 2% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

gold, sheep and goats, cattle, gum resins, shellfish (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars

Imports

$94.43 billion (2018 est.)
$80.07 billion (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 50

Imports - partners

UAE 33%, China 19%, India 16%, Turkey 7%, Ethiopia 5% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

tobacco, raw sugar, palm oil, rice, milk (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$30.45 million (2014 est.)

comparison ranking: 195

Debt - external

$5.3 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

comparison ranking: 131

Exchange rates

Somali shillings (SOS) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
23,097.987 (2017 est.)
23,061.784 (2016 est.)
22,254.236 (2015 est.)
20,230.929 (2014 est.)
19,283.8 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

population without electricity: 10 million (2020)

electrification - total population: 49.3% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 70.6% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 30.6% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 91,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 311.2 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 35 million kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 185; transmission/distribution losses 38; imports 124; exports 104; consumption 180

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 95.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 1.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 5,900 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 137

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 184

Refined petroleum products - imports

5,590 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 167

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 5.663 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

882,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 882,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 176

Energy consumption per capita

802,000 Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 195

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 91,000 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: (2022 est.) less than 1

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 140

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 8.844 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 50 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 96

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Somalia’s economic difficulties in recent years have made it difficult for telcos and the government to sustain investment in infrastructure; the government has also had to contend with militant groups which continue on occasion to force the closure of internet services in many areas of the country; in recent years, though, the government has addressed the lack of guidance which had prevailed since 1991, when a dictatorial regime was overthrown; the National Communications Law was passed in October 2017, aimed at setting a legal and regulatory framework for the telecoms sector, while provision was made in the following year to set up a regulatory authority to oversee the telecom sector; more recently, three types of licenses were mandated to provide clarity to operators, and to bring the market closer into line with international standards; all operators were given until August 2020 to secure one of the three license types; given the poor condition of fixed-line infrastructure, operators have concentrated on mobile connectivity; their investment plans have involved the development of LTE services to provide mobile data and broadband services; the telecom market has flourished; tariffs are among the lowest in Africa, and new cable systems coming on stream in the next few years, as well as planned investments from local operators to bolster the country’s national fiber backbone, will lead to downward pressure on retail pricing; on the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices are under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes as the remnants of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic remain and as global events, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, continue to play out; the market is continuing a positive growth trajectory, supported by a slow economic rebound in the country (2022)

domestic: fixed-line is 1 per 100 and mobile-cellular is 50 per 100 (2022)

international: country code - 252; landing points for the G2A, DARE1, PEACE, and EASSy fiber-optic submarine cable system linking East Africa, Indian Ocean Islands, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe (2019)

Broadcast media

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 users

total: 2.465 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 14.5% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 129

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 119,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 127

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 6 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 7

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 4,486 (2018)

Airports

38 (2024)

comparison ranking: 106

Roadways

total: 15,000 km (2013)

comparison ranking: total 125

Merchant marine

total: 4 (2023)

by type: general cargo 1, other 3

comparison ranking: total 172

Ports

total ports: 6 (2024)

large: 1

medium: 0

small: 2

very small: 3

ports with oil terminals: 2

key ports: Baraawe, Berbera, Boosaaso, Kismaayo, Marka, Muqdisho

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Somali National Armed Forces (SNAF; aka Somali National Defense Force): Land Forces (Somali National Army or SNA), Somali Navy, Somali Air Force

Ministry of Internal Security: Somali National Police (SNP, includes Coast Guard and a commando unit known as Harmacad or Cheetah) 

National Security and Intelligence Agency (includes a commando/counterterrorism unit) (2024)

note 1:  the Somali Navy and Air Force have only a few hundred personnel, little equipment, and are not operational; in early 2024, Somalia signed an agreement with Turkey to build, train and equip the Somali Navy

note 2: Somalia has numerous militia ("macawisley") and regional forces operating throughout the country; these forces include ones that are clan- and warlord-based, semi-official paramilitary and special police forces ("darwish"), and externally sponsored militias

note 3: Somaliland and Puntland have separate military and security forces

Military expenditures

6% of GDP (2021 est.)
6% of GDP (2020 est.)
5.6% of GDP (2019 est.)
6% of GDP (2018 est.)
5.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 5

Military and security service personnel strengths

estimates vary; approximately 20,000 regular military personnel (2023)

note 1: in January 2023, the Somali Government said the SNA would have 24,000 trained and equipped troops by 2024; it aims to also have about 40,000 police

note 2: as of 2022, there were estimates of up to 50,000 militia forces operating in the country

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the SNA is lightly armed with an inventory that includes a variety of older, secondhand equipment largely from Italy, Russia, South Africa, and the UK; in recent years, it has received small quantities of equipment as aid/donations from a variety of countries, including the US (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service for men and women; conscription of men aged 18-40 and women aged 18-30 is authorized, but not currently utilized (2023)

Military - note

the Somali National Army (SNA) and supporting security and militia forces are actively conducting operations against the al-Shabaab terrorist group (see Appendix T); al-Shabaab controls large parts of southern and central Somalia 

of the SNA’s approximately 13 brigades, the most effective are assessed to be the US-trained Danab ("Lightning") Advanced Infantry Brigade and those of the Turkish-trained Gorgor ("Eagle") Special Division; as of 2023, the Danab Brigade numbered about 2,000 troops with an eventual projected strength of 3,000, while the Gorgor Division was estimated to have up to 5,000 trained troops; the Somali Government has sent thousands of troops to Eritrea and Uganda for training and in 2023 announced plans to send additional personnel to Egypt and Ethiopia for training

the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) operated in the country with the approval of the UN from 2007-2022; its peacekeeping mission included 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; in April 2022, AMISOM was reconfigured and replaced with the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS); the ATMIS mission is to support the Somalia Federal Government (FGS) in implementing the security objectives of the FGS's security transition plan, a comprehensive strategy developed by the FGS and its international partners in 2018 and updated in 2021 to gradually transfer security responsibilities from ATMIS to Somali security forces; originally about 20,000-strong (civilians, military, and police), ATMIS began reducing its staffing levels in mid-2023; its planned departure from Somalia is the end of 2024

UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM; established 2013) is mandated by the Security Council to work with the FGS 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; established 2015) is responsible for providing logistical field support to ATMIS, UNSOM, and the Somali security forces on joint operations with ATMIS

the European Union Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM-S) has operated in the country since 2010; the EUTM provides advice and training to the Somali military; the US, UK, and Turkey maintain separate military training missions in Somalia (the US has also supported the SNA with air strikes); the UAE maintains a military presence in Somaliland (2023)

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): al-Shabaab; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham – Somalia

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 23,364 (Ethiopia), 9,969 (Yemen) (2023)

IDPs: 3.864 million (civil war since 1988, clan-based competition for resources; famine; insecurity because of fighting between al-Shabaab and the Transitional Federal Government's allied forces) (2022)