About  |   Contact  |  Mongabay on Facebook  |  Mongabay on Twitter  |  Subscribe
Rainforests | Tropical fish | Environmental news | For kids | Madagascar | Photos

Somalia-GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS





MONGABAY.COM
Mongabay.com seeks to raise interest in and appreciation of wild lands and wildlife, while examining the impact of emerging trends in climate, technology, economics, and finance on conservation and development (more)







WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
Email:


Somalia Index

Government Structure: Country nominally under interim provisional government established by Executive Committee of United Somali Congress (USC) and headed by provisional president Ali Mahdi Mahammad after fall of Mahammad Siad Barre. As of September 1991, country effectively under control of as many as twelve rival clans and subclans. Central government authority at Mogadishu challenged by Somali National Movement (SNM), which in June 1991 declared independent Republic of Somaliland in former territory of British Somaliland. Constitution of 1979 nominally in force pending new constitution proposed by provisional government. Constitutionally mandated national legislature known as People's Assembly inactive since January 1991.

Administrative Divisions: Prior to fall of Siad Barre regime in January 1991, sixteen administrative regions, each containing three to six districts, with exception of capital region which was subdivided into fifteen districts, for total of eighty-four districts. Local government authority vested in regional and district councils whose members were elected, but whose candidature approved by district-level government. High level of military participation in regional and district councils. Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development exercised authority over structure of local government. From 1991 onward, no effective government organization existed.

Politics: During 1980s authoritarian regime of President Mahammad Siad Barre abandoned policy of scientific socialism on Marxist-Leninist lines and implemented marketoriented structural reforms of economy, while consolidating personal political authority. Broad-based national opposition met escalating government repression and provoked armed revolt in 1988 led by USC and SNM. Civil war caused eventual defeat of government forces and exile of Siad Barre in January 1991. USC faction led by General Mahammad Faarah Aidid contested authority of USC Executive Committee to form interim government and established rival government in southern Mogadishu, compelling Mahammad's government to retreat to northern Mogadishu. As of January 1993, country effectively fragmented under control of as many as twelve contending clan-families and clans.

Judicial System: Four-tier court system--Supreme Court, courts of appeal, regional courts, and district courts--based on Western models. Separate National Security Courts operating outside ordinary legal system and under direct control of executive given broad jurisdiction over offenses defined by government as affecting state security, until abolished in October 1990. Unified penal and civil law codes introduced in late 1960s and early 1970s, but some features of Islamic law considered in civil matters.

Foreign Relations: Foreign relations characterized by tension with neighboring states and economic dependence on aid from Arab and Western nations. Relations with neighboring states gradually improved as irredentist claims dating from Ogaden War period (1977-78) formally abandoned during 1980s; relations with Ethiopia remained strained despite 1988 peace agreement resulting from mutual harboring of foreign guerilla forces and uncontrolled mass migration. Relations with Western nations and United States broadened after 1977 rift with Soviet Union; United States military and economic aid provided throughout 1980s but suspended in 1989 because of human rights violations by Siad Barre government. Recipient of financial support from conservative Arab oil states.


BackgroundBritain 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 that managed to impose a degree of stability in the country for a couple of decades. 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 self-declared 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 portions of eastern Sool and Sanaag. Beginning in 1993, a two-year UN humanitarian effort (primarily in the south) was able to alleviate famine conditions, but when the UN withdrew in 1995, having suffered significant casualties, order still had not been restored. A two-year peace process, led by the Government of Kenya under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), concluded in October 2004 with the election of Abdullahi YUSUF Ahmed as President of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia and the formation of an interim government, known as the Somalia Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs). The TFIs included a 275-member parliamentary body, known as the Transitional Federal Assembly (TFA). 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 Council of Islamic Courts (CIC), withdrew from the country. The TFA was increased 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 CIC and ARS chairman as president on 31 January 2009, in Djibouti. Subsequently, President SHARIF appointed Omar Abdirashid ali SHARMARKE, son of a former president of Somalia, as prime minister on 13 February 2009. The TFIs are based on the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC), which outlines a five-year mandate leading to the establishment of a new Somali constitution and a transition to a representative government following national elections. However, in January 2009 the TFA amended the TFC to extend TFG's mandate until 2011. While its institutions remain weak, the TFG continues to reach out to Somali stakeholders and work with international donors to help build the governance capacity of the TFIs and work toward national elections in 2011.
LocationEastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, east of Ethiopia
Area(sq km)total: 637,657 sq km
land: 627,337 sq km
water: 10,320 sq km
Geographic coordinates10 00 N, 49 00 E
Land boundaries(km)total: 2,340 km
border countries: Djibouti 58 km, Ethiopia 1,600 km, Kenya 682 km

Coastline(km)3,025 km

Climateprincipally 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

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Shimbiris 2,416 m
Natural resourcesuranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt, natural gas, likely oil reserves
Land use(%)arable land: 1.64%
permanent crops: 0.04%
other: 98.32% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)2,000 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)15.7 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 3.29 cu km/yr (0%/0%/100%)
per capita: 400 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazardsrecurring droughts; frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer; floods during rainy season
Environment - current issuesfamine; use of contaminated water contributes to human health problems; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notestrategic location on Horn of Africa along southern approaches to Bab el Mandeb and route through Red Sea and Suez Canal
Population9,832,017
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 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 45% (male 2,215,331/female 2,204,503)
15-64 years: 52.6% (male 2,588,356/female 2,579,737)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 101,764/female 142,326) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 17.5 years
male: 17.4 years
female: 17.6 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)2.815% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)43.7 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)15.55 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 37% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 4.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 109.19 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 118.31 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 99.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 49.63 years
male: 47.78 years
female: 51.53 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)6.52 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: 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

Country nameconventional long form: none
conventional short form: Somalia
local long form: Jamhuuriyada Demuqraadiga Soomaaliyeed
local short form: Soomaaliya
former: Somali Republic, Somali Democratic Republic
Government typeno permanent national government; transitional, parliamentary federal government
Capitalname: Mogadishu
geographic coordinates: 2 04 N, 45 22 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions18 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
Constitution25 August 1979, presidential approval 23 September 1979
note: the formation of transitional governing institutions, known as the Transitional Federal Government, is currently ongoing

Legal systemno national system; a mixture of English common law, Italian law, Islamic sharia, and Somali customary law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: Transitional Federal President Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed (since 31 January 2009); note - a transitional governing entity with a five-year mandate, known as the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs), was established in October 2004; the TFIs relocated to Somalia in June 2004
head of government: Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali SHARMARKE (since 13 February 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister and approved by the Transitional Federal Assembly
election results: Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed was elected president by the expanded Transitional Federal Assembly in Djibouti

Legislative branchunicameral National Assembly
note: unicameral Transitional Federal Assembly (TFA) (550 seats; 475 members appointed according to the 4.5 clan formula, with the remaining 75 seats reserved for civil society and business persons)

Judicial branchfollowing the breakdown of the central government, most regions have reverted to local forms of conflict resolution, either secular, traditional Somali customary law, or Sharia (Islamic) law with a provision for appeal of all sentences

Political pressure groups and leadersother: numerous clan and sub-clan factions exist both in support and in opposition to the transitional government
International organization participationACP, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AU, CAEU, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITSO, ITU, LAS, NAM, OIC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO
Flag descriptionlight blue with a large white five-pointed star in the center; blue field influenced by the flag of the UN

Economy - overviewDespite the lack of effective national governance, Somalia has maintained a healthy informal economy, largely based on livestock, remittance/money transfer companies, and telecommunications. Agriculture is the most important sector, with livestock normally accounting for about 40% of GDP and about 65% of export earnings. Nomads and semi-pastoralists, who are dependent upon livestock for their livelihood, make up a large portion of the population. Livestock, hides, fish, charcoal, and bananas are Somalia's principal exports, while sugar, sorghum, corn, 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. Somalia's service sector also has grown. 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 roughly $2 billion in remittances annually. Mogadishu's main market offers a variety of goods from food to the newest electronic gadgets. Hotels continue to operate and are supported with private-security militias. Somalia's arrears to the IMF continued to grow in 2008. Statistics on Somalia's GDP, growth, per capita income, and inflation should be viewed skeptically.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$5.524 billion (2008 est.)
$5.387 billion (2007 est.)
$5.252 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$2.6 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)2.6% (2008 est.)
2.6% (2007 est.)
2.6% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$600 (2008 est.)
$600 (2007 est.)
$600 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 65%
industry: 10%
services: 25% (2005 est.)
Labor force3.447 million (few skilled laborers) (2007)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 71%
industry and services: 29% (1975)
Unemployment rate(%)NA%
Population below poverty line(%)NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budgetrevenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)NA%
note: businesses print their own money, so inflation rates cannot be easily determined

Economic aid - recipient$236.4 million (2005 est.)

Agriculture - productsbananas, sorghum, corn, coconuts, rice, sugarcane, mangoes, sesame seeds, beans; cattle, sheep, goats; fish
Industriesa few light industries, including sugar refining, textiles, wireless communication

Industrial production growth rate(%)NA%

Exports$300 million (2006)

Exports - commodities(%)livestock, bananas, hides, fish, charcoal, scrap metal
Exports - partners(%)UAE 56.2%, Yemen 21%, Saudi Arabia 3.6% (2008)
Imports$798 million (2006)

Imports - commodities(%)manufactures, petroleum products, foodstuffs, construction materials, qat
Imports - partners(%)Djibouti 29.2%, India 11.9%, Kenya 7.6%, US 6%, Oman 5.6%, UAE 5.5%, Yemen 4.7% (2008)

Debt - external$3 billion (2001 est.)

Exchange ratesSomali shillings (SOS) per US dollar - NA (2007-08), 1,438.3 (2006) official rate; the unofficial black market rate was about 23,000 shillings per dollar as of February 2007
note: the Republic of Somaliland, a self-declared independent country not recognized by any foreign government, issues its own currency, the Somaliland shilling

Currency (code)Somali shilling (SOS)

Telephones - main lines in use100,000 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular627,000 (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral 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
international: country code - 252; international connections are available from Mogadishu by satellite (2001)
Internet country code.so
Internet users102,000 (2008)
Airports59 (2009)
Roadways(km)total: 22,100 km
paved: 2,608 km
unpaved: 19,492 km (2000)

Ports and terminalsBerbera, Kismaayo
Military branchesno national-level armed forces (2008)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 2,181,050
females age 16-49: 2,125,558 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 1,301,026
females age 16-49: 1,351,649 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 93,763
female: 93,738 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)0.9% of GDP (2005 est.)
Disputes - internationalEthiopian 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 personsIDPs: 1.1 million (civil war since 1988, clan-based competition for resources) (2007)
Electricity - production(kWh)280 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)260.4 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)5,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)1,475 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)6,387 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)5.663 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.5% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS24,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,600 (2007 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and Rift Valley fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 37.8%
male: 49.7%
female: 25.8% (2001 est.)

Education expenditures(% of GDP)NA








Copyright mongabay 2000-2013