Area: 637,657 sq. km.; slightly smaller than Texas.
Cities: Capital--Mogadishu. Other cities--Beledweyne,
Kismayo, Baidoa, Jowhar, Merca, Bosasso, Hargeisa, Berbera.
Terrain: Mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in the
Climate: Principally desert; December to February--northeast
monsoon, moderate temperatures in north, and very hot in the south;
May to October--southwest monsoon, torrid in the north, and hot in
the south; irregular rainfall; hot and humid periods (tangambili)
Nationality: Noun--Somali(s). Adjective--Somali.
Population (2002 est., no census exists): 9.6 million (of which an
estimated 2-3 million in Somaliland).
Annual growth rate (2001 est.): 3.48%.
Ethnic groups: Somali, with a small non-Somali minority (mostly
Bantu and Arabs).
Religion: 99.9% Muslim.
Languages: Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English.
Education: Literacy--total population that can read and
write, 24%: male 36%; female 14%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--123.97/1,000 live births.
Life expectancy at birth--total population: 46.6 yrs.
Work force (3.7 million; very few are skilled workers): Pastoral
nomad--60%. Agriculture, government, trading, fishing,
industry, handicrafts, and other--40%.
Independence: July 1, 1960 (from a merger of the former Somaliland
Protectorate under British rule, which became independent from the
UK on June 26, 1960, and Italian Somaliland, which became
independent from the Italian-administered UN trusteeship on July 1,
1960 to form the Somali Republic).
Constitution: None in force. Note: A Transitional Federal Charter
was established in February 2004 and is expected to serve as the
basis for a future constitution in Somalia. In August 2004, the
Somali Transitional Federal Assembly (TFA) was established as part
of the IGAD-led Somalia National Reconciliation Conference in
accordance with the Charter. The Somalia National Reconciliation
Conference concluded following the election of a Transitional
President in October 2004.
Branches: Executive--Somalia has had no functioning national
government since the United Somali Congress (USC) ousted the regime
of Maj. Gen. Mohamed Siad "Barre" in January 1991. The present
political situation in much of Somalia is marked by inter-clan
fighting and random banditry, with some areas of peace and
stability. On October 10, 2004, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed was elected
Transitional Federal President of Somalia for a five-year period. A
Prime Minister, Ali Mohamed Gedi was approved by the Transitional
Federal Assembly on December 24, 2004. A cabinet, consisting of 90
ministers and deputy ministers, was appointed in January 2005.
Legislative--parliamentary (Transitional Federal Assembly,
established in August 2004. Shariff Hassan Sheilh Adan was elected
Speaker of the Assembly in September 2004.) Judicial--Supreme
Court: not functioning; no nationwide system; Islamic (shari’a) and
secular courts in some localities.
Political party: None functioning. Legal system: none functioning.
Note: In 1991 a congress drawn from the inhabitants of the former
Somaliland Protectorate declared withdrawal from the 1960 union with
Somalia to form the self-declared Republic of Somaliland. Somaliland
has not received international recognition, but has maintained a de
jure separate status since that time. Its form of government is
republican, with a bicameral legislature including an elected elders
chamber and a house of representatives. The judiciary is
independent, and various political parties exist. In line with the
Somaliland Constitution, Vice President Dahir Riyale Kahin assumed
the presidency following the death of former president Mohamed
Ibrahim Egal in 2002. Kahin was elected President of Somaliland in
elections determined to be free and fair by international observers
in May 2003. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place on
September 15, 2005.
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal (no nationwide elections).
Administrative subdivisions: 18 regions (plural--NA;
singular--Gobolka). Awdal, Bakool, Banaadir, Bari, Bay,
Galguduud, Gedo, Hiraan, Jubbada Dhexe, Jubbada Hoose, Mudug, Nugaal,
Sanaag, Shabeellaha Dhexe, Shabeellah Hoose, Sool, Togdheer, Woqooyi
Central government budget: N/A.
National holiday: July 1 (June 26 in Somaliland).
GDP (2001 est.): U.S. $900 million.
Annual growth rate (2001 est.): 5.4%.
Per capita income: N/A.
Avg. inflation rate (2001 est.): 6.0%.
Natural resources: Largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin,
gypsum, bauxite, uranium, copper, and salt; likely petroleum and
natural gas reserves.
Agriculture: Products--livestock, bananas, corn, sorghum,
sugar. Arable land--13%, of which 2% is cultivated.
Industry: Types--Telecommunications, livestock, fishing,
textiles, transportation, and limited financial services. Somalia’s
surprisingly innovative private sector has continued to function
despite the lack of a functioning central government since 1991.
Trade (1999): Exports--$110 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.):
livestock, bananas, hides and skins, sugar, sorghum, corn. Major
markets--Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Italy,
Pakistan. Imports--$314 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.): food
grains, animal and vegetable oils, petroleum products, construction
materials. Major suppliers--Djibouti, Kenya, Brazil, Saudi
Aid disbursed (2002): $174.4 million. Primary donors--European
Union, United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Finland,
France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden,
Switzerland, United Kingdom, World Bank.
Remittances (2004 est.): $800 million to $1 billion.
U.S. assistance (2004): $29 million.