Country Summary



Several powerful Somali states dominated the Indian Ocean trade from the 13th century onward. In the late 19th century, the area that would become Somalia was colonized by Britain in the north and Italy in the south. The two colonies merged in 1960 to form the new nation of Somalia. Since 1991, civil war and political instability have resulted in the country being split into several regional governments.



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


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

Natural resources

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

People and Society


12,693,796 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

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


Somali (official, according to the 2012 Transitional Federal Charter), Arabic (official, according to the 2012 Transitional Federal Charter), Italian, English


Sunni Muslim (Islam) (official, according to the 2012 Transitional Federal Charter)

Population growth rate

2.49% (2023 est.)


Government type

federal parliamentary republic


name: Mogadishu

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)

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)


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)

$19.399 billion (2021 est.)
$18.644 billion (2020 est.)
$18.191 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$1,100 (2021 est.)
$1,100 (2020 est.)
$1,100 (2019 est.)

Agricultural products

camel milk, milk, sheep milk, goat milk, sugar cane, fruit, sorghum, cassava, vegetables, maize


light industries, including sugar refining, textiles, wireless communication


25.21% of GDP (2020 est.)
24.32% of GDP (2019 est.)
25.31% of GDP (2018 est.)


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

Exports - partners

United Arab Emirates 47%, Saudi Arabia 19%, India 5%, Japan 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

gold, sheep, goats, sesame seeds, insect resins, cattle (2019)


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

Imports - partners

United Arab Emirates 32%, China 20%, India 17%, Turkey 7% (2019)

Imports - commodities

cigarettes, raw sugar, rice, broadcasting equipment, textiles (2019)

Exchange rates

Somali shillings (SOS) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
23,960 (2016 est.)

Page last updated: Tuesday, November 28, 2023