Somalia facts on every entity in the world

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 United Nations-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.



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

Geographic coordinates

10.00° N, 49.00° E

Area 44/257

total: 637,657 sq km

land: 627,337 sq km

water: 10,320 sq km

Area - comparative

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

Land boundaries

total: 2,385 km

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


3,025 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 200 nm


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


mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north


mean elevation:

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

agricultural land: 70.3%

arable land 1.8%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 68.5%

forest: 10.6%

other: 19.1% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

2,000 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources

14.7 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 3.3 cu km/yr (0%/0%/100%)

per capita: 377.6 cu m/yr (2003)

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: Biodiversity, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

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


noun: Somali(s)

adjective: Somali

Ethnic groups

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


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


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

Population 86/238


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 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 43.72% (male 2,317,935/female 2,323,681)

15-24 years: 18.85% (male 1,012,447/female 988,251)

25-54 years: 31.36% (male 1,722,230/female 1,607,117)

55-64 years: 3.83% (male 196,664/female 209,983)

65 years and over: 2.24% (male 92,658/female 145,414) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 98.1%

youth dependency ratio: 92.5%

elderly dependency ratio: 5.6%

potential support ratio: 17.9% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 17.8 years

male: 18 years

female: 17.7 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 62/233

1.83% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 8/224

40.45 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 13/225

13.62 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 211/222

-8.49 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 39.6% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 4.06% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

MOGADISHU (capital) 2.138 million; Hargeysa 760,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

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

15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.07 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 3/184

732 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 3/224

total: 98.39 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 107.07 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 89.45 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 218/224

total population: 51.96 years

male: 49.93 years

female: 54.06 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 4/224

5.99 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

14.6% (2006)

Physicians density

0.04 physicians/1,000 population (2006)

Drinking water source


urban: 69.6% of population

rural: 8.8% of population

total: 31.7% of population


urban: 30.4% of population

rural: 91.2% of population

total: 68.3% of population (2011 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 52% of population

rural: 6.3% of population

total: 23.6% of population


urban: 48% of population

rural: 93.7% of population

total: 76.4% of population (2011 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.55% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

34,900 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

2,400 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 162/191

3.9% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 9/138

32.8% (2006)

Education expenditures



Country name

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

Government type

in the process of building a federal parliamentary republic


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

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


1 July 1960 (from a merger of British Somaliland that became independent from the UK on 26 June 1960 and Italian Somaliland that 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


previous 1961, 1979; latest drafted 12 June 2012, approved 1 August 2012 (provisional) (2015)

Legal system

mixed legal system of civil law, Islamic 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 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


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud (since 10 September 2012)

head of government: Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali SHARMARKE (since 24 December 2014); Deputy Prime Minister Mohamad Omar ARTEH (since 6 February 2015)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister, approved by the National Parliament

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 10 September 2012 (next to be held in 2016); prime minister appointed by the president, approved by the Federal Parliament

election results: HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud elected president; Federal Parliament second round vote - HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud (PDP) 190, Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed (ARS) 79; Omar Abdirashid Ali SHARMARKE approved as prime minister; Federal Parliament vote - 218 for approval, none against (6 members not present for vote)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Parliament or Golaha Shacabka Soomaaliya consists of the House of the People (275 seats; members directly elected to serve 4-year terms)

note: the inaugural House of the People was appointed in September 2012 by clan elders; slated for 2016, the National Parliament will become bicameral with the formation of an upper house that will consist of 54 seats with members indirectly elected by regional governing councils to serve 4-year terms

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 an Appeal Court were established; yet most regions have reverted to local forms of conflict resolution, either secular, traditional Somali customary law, or sharia 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- and federal member state-level courts; military courts; sharia (Islamic) courts

Political parties and leaders

CADHI [Abdirahman IBRAHIM]

Cosmopolitan Democratic Party [Yarow Sharef ADEN]

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]

Liberal Party of Somalia

National Unity Party (Xisbiga MIdnimo-Quaran) [Abdurahman BAADIYOW]

Peace and Development Party or PDP

Somali National Party or SNP [Mohammed Ameen Saeed AHMED]

Somali People's Party [Mahamud Hassan RAGE]

Somali Green Party (local chapter of Federation of Green Parties of Africa]

Tayo or TPP [Mohamed Abdullahi MOHAMED]

Tiir Party [Fadhil Sheik MOHAMUD]

United and Democratic Party [Salad Ali JELLE]

United Somali Parliamentarians

Political pressure groups and leaders

other: numerous political associations and clan and sub-clan factions exist both in support and in opposition to the incumbent president

International organization participation


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


Economy - overview

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 93% of GDP in 2014.

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 3.7% in 2014 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. Economic growth has yet to expand outside of Mogadishu, 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.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 177/230

$4.431 billion (2010 est.)

$4.186 billion (2009 est.)

$5.607 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$5.8 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 117/225

2.6% (2010 est.)

2.6% (2012 est.)

2.6% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 228/230

$400 (2010 est.)

$400 (2009 est.)

$600 (2008 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 72.7%

government consumption: 8.7%

investment in fixed capital: 19.9%

investment in inventories: 0.4%

exports of goods and services: 0.3%

imports of goods and services: -1.7%

(2011 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 60.2%

industry: 7.4%

services: 32.5% (2013 est.)

Agriculture - products

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


light industries, including sugar refining, textiles, wireless communication

Industrial production growth rate 104/202

2.5% (2013 est.)

Labor force 103/233

3.109 million (2013 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 71%

industry and services: 29% (1975)

Unemployment rate


Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $145.3 million

expenditures: $151.1 million

Taxes and other revenues 219/219

2.5% of GDP

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 33/220

-0.1% of GDP

Fiscal year


Inflation rate (consumer prices)


note: businesses print their own money, so inflation rates cannot be easily determined

Central bank discount rate


Commercial bank prime lending rate


Current account balance 107/197

-$644 million

Exports 166/224

$819 million (2012 est.)

$779 million (2011 est.)

Exports - commodities

livestock, bananas, hides, fish, charcoal, scrap metal

Exports - partners

UAE 44.4%, Yemen 19.1%, Oman 15.4%, India 5.6% (2014)

Imports 137/223

$3.482 billion (2010 est.)

$3.322 billion (2006 est.)

Imports - commodities

manufactures, petroleum products, foodstuffs, construction materials, qat

Imports - partners

Djibouti 19.8%, India 14.7%, Oman 9.1%, China 9%, Kenya 8.9%, Pakistan 4.7% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 170/170

$30.45 million

Debt - external 142/206

$3.054 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

$3.055 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates

Somali shillings (SOS) per US dollar -

20,227 (2014 est.)

19,276 (2013 est.)


Electricity - production 173/220

315 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 178/219

293 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 197/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 203/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 179/214

80,000 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 28/214

100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 182/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 203/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 128/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 192/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 190/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 126/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 192/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 132/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 166/212

5,600 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 133/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 157/213

5,556 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 129/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 194/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 182/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 134/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 93/212

5.663 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 169/212

855,800 Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 157/219

total subscriptions: 57,200

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 113/217

total: 5.5 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 53 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: the public telecommunications 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 the lowest international rates on the continent

domestic: local cellular telephone systems have been established in Mogadishu and in several other population centers with one company beginning to provide 3G services in late 2012

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 (2010)

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 (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

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

Television broadcast stations

4 (2 in Mogadishu and 2 in Hargeisa) (2001)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 202/232

186 (2012)

Internet users 164/217

total: 157,500

percent of population: 1.5% (2014 est.)


Airports 81/236

61 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 6

over 3,047 m: 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 55

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 5

1,524 to 2,437 m: 20

914 to 1,523 m: 23

under 914 m: 6 (2013)

Roadways 105/223

total: 22,100 km

paved: 2,608 km

unpaved: 19,492 km (2000)

Merchant marine 155/156

total: 1

by type: cargo 1 (2008)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Berbera, Kismaayo

Military and Security

Military branches

National Security Force (NSF): Somali Army (2011)

Military service age and obligation

18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Ethiopian forces invaded southern Somalia and routed Islamist Courts from Mogadishu in January 2007; "Somaliland" secessionists provide port facilities in Berbera to landlocked Ethiopia and have established commercial ties with other regional states; "Puntland" and "Somaliland" "governments" seek international support in their secessionist aspirations and overlapping border claims; the undemarcated former British administrative line has little meaning as a political separation to rival clans within Ethiopia's Ogaden and southern Somalia's Oromo region; Kenya works hard to prevent the clan and militia fighting in Somalia from spreading south across the border, which has long been open to nomadic pastoralists

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 3,268 (Yemen) (2015)

IDPs: 1.133 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) (2015)