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Countries > Somalia Somalia Flag

Languages   4 languages are spoken in Somalia. We have 539 products available for those languages.

Capital: Mogadishu
Population: 9,300,000
Click to Listen Play the National Anthem
Somalia Map


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

Geographic coordinates: 10 00 N, 49 00 E

Map references: Africa

total: 637,660 sq km
land: 627,340 sq km
water: 10,320 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Texas

Land boundaries:
total: 2,366 km
border countries: Djibouti 58 km, Ethiopia 1,626 km, Kenya 682 km

Coastline: 3,025 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 200 nm

Climate: principally desert; December to February - northeast monsoon, moderate temperatures in north and very hot in south; May to October - southwest monsoon, torrid in the north and hot in the south, irregular rainfall, hot and humid periods (tangambili) between monsoons

Terrain: mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Shimbiris 2,450 m

Natural resources: uranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt

Land use:
arable land: 2%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures : 69%
forests and woodland: 26%
other: 3% (1998 est.)

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

Natural hazards: recurring droughts; frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer

Environment - current issues: famine; use of contaminated water contributes to human health problems; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Endangered Species, Law of the Sea
signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban

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


Population: 7,753,310
note: this estimate was derived from an official census taken in 1975 by the Somali Government; population counting in Somalia is complicated by the large number of nomads and by refugee movements in response to famine and clan warfare (July 2002 est.)

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

Population growth rate: 3.46% (2002 est.)

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

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

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

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female (1997 est.)
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population : 1 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

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

Life expectancy at birth:
total population : 46.96 years
male: 45.33 years
female: 48.65 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 7.05 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun: Somali(s)
adjective : Somali

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

Religions: Sunni Muslim

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

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


Country name:
conventional long form : none
conventional short form: Somalia
former: Somali Republic

Data code: SO

Government type: none

National capital: Mogadishu

Administrative divisions: 18 regions (plural - NA, singular - gobolka); Awdal, Bakool, Banaadir, Bari, Bay, Galguduud, Gedo, Hiiraan, Jubbada Dhexe, Jubbada Hoose, Mudug, Nugaal, Sanaag, Shabeellaha Dhexe, Shabeellaha Hoose, Sool, Togdheer, Woqooyi Galbeed

Independence: 1 July 1960 (from a merger of British Somaliland, which became independent from the UK on 26 June 1960, and Italian Somaliland, which became independent from the Italian-administered UN trusteeship on 1 July 1960, to form the Somali Republic)

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

Constitution: 25 August 1979, presidential approval 23 September 1979

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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

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

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

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

Political parties and leaders: the United Somali Congress or USC ousted the former regime on 27 January 1991; formerly the only party was the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party or SRSP, headed by former President and Commander in Chief of the Army Major General Mohamed SIAD Barre

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

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, CAEU, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGADD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US: Somalia does not have an embassy in the US (ceased operations on 8 May 1991)

Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Somalia; US interests are represented by the US Embassy in Nairobi at Moi Avenue and Haile Selassie Avenue; mail address: P. O. Box 30137, Unit 64100, Nairobi; APO AE 09831; telephone: [254] (2) 334141; FAX [254] (2) 340838

Flag description: light blue with a large white five-pointed star in the center; design based on the flag of the UN (Italian Somaliland was a UN trust territory)


Economy - overview:One of the world's poorest and least developed countries, Somalia has few resources and is prone to drought. Moreover, much of the economy has been devastated by civil war since 1991. Agriculture is the most important sector, with livestock accounting for about 40% of GDP and about 65% of export earnings. Nomads and semi-nomads, who are dependent upon livestock for their livelihood, make up a large portion of the population. Livestock, hides, charcoal, and bananas are Somalia's principal exports, while sugar, sorghum, corn, fish, qat, and machined goods are the principal imports. Somalia's small industrial sector, based on the processing of agricultural products, has largely been looted and sold as scrap metal. Despite the seeming anarchy, Somalia's service sector has managed to survive and grow. Telecommunication firms provide wireless services in most major cities and offer the lowest international call rates on the continent. In the absence of a formal banking sector, money exchange services have sprouted throughout the country, handling between $200 million and $500 million in remittances annually. Mogadishu's main market offers a variety of goods from food to the newest electronic gadgets. Hotels continue to operate, and security is provided by militias. Ongoing civil disturbances and clan rivalries, however, have interfered with any broad-based economic development and international aid arrangements. The failure of spring rains caused major food shortages in the south in 2001. Economic data is scare and prone to a wide margin of error

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

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

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

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

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

Labor force:
total: 3.7 million (very few are skilled laborers)(1993 est.)
by occupation: agriculture (mostly pastoral nomadism) 71%, industry and services 29%

Unemployment rate: NA%

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

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

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - capacity: 144,000 kW prior to the civil war, but now largely shut down due to war damage; some localities operate their own generating plants, providing limited municipal power; note - UN and relief organizations use their own portable power systems

Electricity - production: 250 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 232.5 million kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: bananas, sorghum, corn, mangoes, sugarcane; cattle, sheep, goats; fishing potential largely unexploited

total value:$186 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.)
commodities: bananas, live animals, fish, hides (1995)
partners: Saudi Arabia 29%, UAE 29%, Yemen 28% (calculated through partners) (2000)

total value: $314 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.)
commodities : manufactures, petroleum products, foodstuffs, construction materials (1995)
partners: Djibouti 27%, Kenya 12%, India 9% (2000)

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

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

Currency: 1 Somali shilling (SOS) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Somali shillings per US dollar - 11,000 (November 2000), 2,620 (January 1999), 7,500 (November 1997 est.), 7,000 (January 1996 est.), 5,000 (1 January 1995)
note: the Republic of Somaliland, a self-declared independent country not recognized by any foreign government, issues its own currency, the Somaliland shilling

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 9,000 (1991 est.)

Telephone system: the public telecommunications system was completely destroyed or dismantled by the civil war factions; all relief organizations depend on their own private systems
domestic: recently, local cellular telephone systems have been established in Mogadishu and in several other population centers
international : international connections are available from Mogadishu by satellite (2001)

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

Radios: 470,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 3
note: two in Mogadishu; one in Hargeisa (2001)

Televisions: 135,000 (1997)


Railways: 0 km

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

Pipelines: crude oil 15 km

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

Merchant marine: none (2002 est.)

Airports: 54 (2001)

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

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total : 48
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 27
under 914 m:3 (2001)


Military branches: A Somali National Army is being reformed under the interim government; numerous factions and clans maintain independent militias, and the Somaliland and Puntland regional governments maintain their own security and police forces

Military manpower - military age:
males: 1,615,598 years of age (1997 est.)

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,881,634 (2002 est.)

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

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

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

Transnational Issues

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

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