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Somalia-THE SOCIALIST REVOLUTION after 1975





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Somalia Index

[JPEG]

Camels at watering hole near Luuq on the Jubba River; camels remain a mainstay of tribal herders
Courtesy Hiram A. Ruiz

[JPEG]

Water pump directing water into a trough for communal use
Courtesy Hiram A. Ruiz

Popular enthusiasm for the revolution began to dissipate by the mid-1970s. Many officials had become corrupt, using their positions for personal gain, and a number of ideologues had been purged from the administration as potential threats to their military superiors. Perhaps most important, Siad Barre's regime was focusing its attention on the political goal of "liberating" the Ogaden (Ogaadeen) rather than on the economic goal of socialist transformation. The Somali economy was hurt as much by these factors and by the economic cost of creating a large modern army as it was by the concurrent drought. Two economic trends from this period were noteworthy: increasing debt and the collapse of the small industrial sector.

During the 1970s, foreign debt increased faster than export earnings. By the end of the decade, Somalia's debt of 4 billion shillings (for value of the shilling--see Glossary) equaled the earnings from seventy-five years' worth of banana exports (based on 1978 data). About one-third was owed to centrally planned economies (mainly the Soviet Union, US$110 million; China, US$87.2 million; with small sums to Bulgaria and the German Democratic Republic East Germany). Another one-third of the debt was owed to countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Finally, one-third was owed to members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) (principally Saudi Arabia, US$81.9 million; Abu Dhabi, US$67.0 million; the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, US$34.7 million; Kuwait, US$27.1 million; and smaller amounts to Iraq, Qatar, the OPEC special account, Libya, and Algeria, in that order). Many loans, especially from the Soviet Union, were, in effect, written off. Later, many loan repayments to OECD states were rescheduled. But thanks to the accumulated debt burden, by the 1980s the economy could not attract foreign capital, and virtually all international funds made available to Somalia in rescheduling agreements came with the provision that international civil servants would monitor all expenditures. As a result of its international debt, therefore, Somalia lost control over its macroeconomic structure.

A second ominous trend in the 1975-81 period was the decline of the manufacturing sector. Exports of manufactured goods were negligible when the 1969 coup occurred; by the mid-1970s, manufactured goods constituted 20 percent of total exports. By 1978, as a consequence of the Ogaden War, such exports were almost nonexistent. Production likewise suffered. In 1969 Somalia refined 47,000 tons of sugar; by 1980 the figure was 29,100 tons (all figures are for fiscal year ( FY)--see Glossary). In 1975 the country produced 14.4 million cans of meat and 2,220 tons of canned fish. In 1979 it produced 1.5 million cans of meat and a negligible amount of canned fish. Textile output rose over the period. The only material produced, however, was a coarse fabric sold to rural people (and worn by the president) at less than cost. In milk, pasta, packaging materials, cigarettes, and matches, the trend was downward in the second half of the 1970s.


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








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