Somalia - SO - SOM - SOM - Africa

Last updated: February 21, 2024
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Somalia Factbook Data

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Shane L. DIXON (since 25 July 2023)

embassy: Mogadishu, (reopened October 2019 on the grounds of the Mogadishu Airport)

mailing address: P.O. Box 606 Village Market
00621 Nairobi, Kenya

telephone: [254] 20 363-6451

email address and website:
SomaliaPublicAffairs@state.gov

https://so.usembassy.gov/

Age structure

0-14 years: 41.54% (male 2,633,262/female 2,640,088)

15-64 years: 55.77% (male 3,609,721/female 3,469,735)

65 years and over: 2.69% (2023 est.) (male 143,742/female 197,248)
2023 population pyramid
This is the population pyramid for Somalia. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends.

For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Geographic coordinates

10 00 N, 49 00 E

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

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

15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Natural hazards

recurring droughts; frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer; floods during rainy season

Area - comparative

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

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


Military service age and obligation

18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service for men and women; conscription of men aged 18-40 and women aged 18-30 is authorized, but not currently utilized (2023)

Background

Ancient Egypt trade expeditions along the northeastern coast of Africa - including today's Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia - occurred at various times between the 25th and 12th centuries B.C. Between A.D. 800 and 1100, immigrant Muslim Arabs and Persians set up coastal trading posts along the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, solidifying Somalia’s close trading relationship with the Arab Peninsula. In the late 19th century, Britain and Italy established colonies in the Somali Peninsula, where they remained until 1960, when British Somaliland gained independence and joined with Italian Somaliland to form the Republic of Somalia. The country functioned as a parliamentary democracy until 1969, when General Mohamed SIAD Barre took control in a coup, beginning a 22-year authoritarian socialist dictatorship. In an effort to centralize power, SIAD called for the eradication of the clan, the key cultural and social organizing principle in Somali society. Resistance to SIAD’s socialist leadership, which was causing a rapid deterioration of the country, prompted allied clan militias to overthrow SIAD in early 1991, resulting in state collapse. Subsequent fighting between rival clans for resources and territory overwhelmed the country, resulting in a manmade famine and prompting international intervention. Beginning in 1993, the UN spearheaded a humanitarian mission supported by international forces, but the international community largely withdrew by 1995 following an incident that became known as Black Hawk Down in which two American Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were shot down in Mogadishu. The fighting and subsequent siege and rescue resulted in 21 deaths and 82 wounded among the international forces.

International peace conferences in the 2000s resulted in a number of transitional governments that operated outside of Somalia. Left largely to themselves, Somalis in the country established alternative governance structures; some areas formed their own administrations, such as Somaliland and Puntland, while others developed localized institutions. Many local populations turned to using sharia courts, an Islamic judicial system that implements religious law. Several of these courts came together in 2006 to form the Islamic Courts Union (ICU). The ICU established order in many areas of central and southern Somalia, including Mogadishu, but was forced out when Ethiopia intervened militarily in December 2006 on behalf of the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG). While the TFG settled in the capital, the ICU fled to rural areas or from Somalia altogether, reemerging less than a year later as the Islamic insurgent and terrorist movement al-Shabaab, which is still active today. In January 2007, the African Union (AU) established the AU Mission in Somalia peacekeeping force, which allowed Ethiopia to withdraw its forces, took over security responsibility for the country, and gave the TFG space to develop Somalia’s new government. By 2012, Somali powerbrokers agreed on a provisional constitution with a loose federal structure and established a central government in Mogadishu termed the Somali Federal Government (SFG). Since then, several interim regional administrations have been established and there have been two presidential elections. However, significant and fundamental governance and security problems remain for the SFG since al-Shabaab controls large portions of the country.


Environment - current issues

water scarcity; contaminated water contributes to human health problems; improper waste disposal; deforestation; land degradation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified: Nuclear Test Ban

Population below poverty line

NA

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA

highest 10%: NA

Exports - commodities

gold, sheep, goats, sesame seeds, insect resins, cattle (2019)

Exports - partners

United Arab Emirates 47%, Saudi Arabia 19%, India 5%, Japan 5% (2019)

Administrative divisions

18 regions (plural - gobollo, singular - gobol); 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

Agricultural products

camel milk, milk, sheep milk, goat milk, sugar cane, fruit, sorghum, cassava, vegetables, maize

Military and security forces

Somali National Armed Forces (SNAF; aka Somali National Defense Force): Land Forces (Somali National Army or SNA), Somali Navy, Somali Air Force

Ministry of Internal Security: Somali National Police (SNP, includes Coast Guard and a commando unit known as Harmacad or Cheetah) 

National Security and Intelligence Agency (includes a commando/counterterrorism unit) (2023)

note 1:  the Somali Navy and Air Force have only a few hundred personnel, little equipment, and are not operational

note 2: Somalia has numerous militia ("macawisley") and regional forces operating throughout the country; these forces include ones that are clan- and warlord-based, semi-official paramilitary and special police forces ("darwish"), and externally sponsored militias

note 3: Somaliland and Puntland have separate military and security forces

Budget

revenues: $145.3 million (2014 est.)

expenditures: $151.1 million (2014 est.)

Capital

name: Mogadishu

geographic coordinates: 2 04 N, 45 20 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: several theories attempt to explain the city's name; one of the more plausible is that it derives from "maq'ad-i-shah" meaning "the seat of the shah," reflecting the city's links with Persia

Imports - commodities

cigarettes, raw sugar, rice, broadcasting equipment, textiles (2019)

Climate

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

Coastline

3,025 km

Constitution

history: previous 1961, 1979; latest drafted 12 June 2012, adopted 1 August 2012 (provisional)

amendments: proposed by the federal government, by members of the state governments, the Federal Parliament, or by public petition; proposals require review by a joint committee of Parliament with inclusion of public comments and state legislatures’ comments; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Parliament and approval by a majority of votes cast in a referendum; constitutional clauses on Islamic principles, the federal system, human rights and freedoms, powers and authorities of the government branches, and inclusion of women in national institutions cannot be amended; note - in late December 2020, the president signed a decree blocking the approval of amendments

Exchange rates

Somali shillings (SOS) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
23,960 (2016 est.)

Executive branch

chief of state: President HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud (since 23 May 2022)

head of government: Prime Minister Hamza Abdi BARRE (since 25 June 2022)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister, approved by the House of the People

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 15 May 2022 (next to be held in 2026); prime minister appointed by the president, approved by the House of the People; note - elections were originally scheduled for 10 October 2021 but did not take place; on 13 April 2022, the election of the House of the People representatives was completed and the presidential election date was set for 15 May 2022

election results:
2022:
HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud elected president in third round - Federal Parliament percent of vote in first round - Said ABDULLAHI DENI (Kaah) 20.2%, Mohamed ABDULLAHI Mohamed "Farmaajo" (TPP) 18.3%, HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud (PDP) 16.2%, Hassan Ali KHAYRE (independent) 14.6%, other 30.7%; Federal Parliament percent of vote in second round - HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud 34.1%, Mohamed ABDULLAHI Mohamed "Farmaajo" 25.7%, Said ABDULLAHI DENI 21%, Hassan Ali KHAYRE 19.2%; Federal Parliament percent of vote in third round - HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud  66%, Mohamed ABDULLAHI Mohamed "Farmaajo" 34%

2017: Mohamed ABDULLAHI Mohamed "Farmaajo" elected president in second round; Federal Parliament number of votes in first round - HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud (PDP) 88, Mohamed ABDULLAHI Mohamed "Farmaajo" (TPP) 72, Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed (ARS) 49, other 37; Federal Parliament number of votes in second round - Mohamed ABDULLAHI Mohamed "Farmaajo" 184, HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud 97, Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed 45

Fiscal year

NA

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)

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)

Industries

light industries, including sugar refining, textiles, wireless communication

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

Land boundaries

total: 2,385 km

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

Land use

agricultural land: 70.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 68.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 10.6% (2018 est.)

other: 19.1% (2018 est.)

Legal system

mixed legal system of civil law, Islamic (sharia) law, and customary law (referred to as Xeer)

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Federal Parliament to consist of:
Senate (54 seats; senators indirectly elected by state assemblies to serve 4-year terms)
House of the People (275 seats; members indirectly elected by electoral colleges, each consisting of 51 delegates selected by the 136 Traditional Elders in consultation with sub-clan elders; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: Senate - first held on 10 October 2016; last held 27 July - 13 November 2021 (next to be held in 2024)
House of the People - first held 23 October - 10 November 2016 (next scheduled for September - October 2021 but postponed to November 2021 and then extended numerous times until April 2022; next to be held in 2024)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 40, women 14, percent of women 25.9%
House of the People - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 225, women 50, percent of women 22.2%; note - total Parliament percent of women 19.5%

note 1: the inaugural House of the People was appointed in September 2012 by clan elders; in 2016 and 2017, the Federal Parliament became bicameral with indirect elections scheduled for 10 October 2016 for the Upper House - renamed 'Senate' and 23 October to 10 November 2016 for the House of the People; while the elections were delayed, they were eventually held in most regions despite voting irregularities; on 27 December 2016, 41 Upper House senators and 242 House of the People Members of Parliament (MP) were sworn in

note 2:
despite the formation of political parties in 2020, the 2021 parliamentary elections maintained a primarily clan-based system of appointments; seats in the legislature were apportioned to Somali member states and not by party representation





Maritime claims

territorial sea: 200 nm; note: the US does not recognize this claim

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AU, CAEU (candidate), EAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITSO, ITU, LAS, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNHRC, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO

National holiday

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

Nationality

noun: Somali(s)

adjective: Somali

Natural resources

uranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt, natural gas, likely oil reserves

Geography - note

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

Economic overview

low-income African Horn economy; 30 years of war and instability crippled economic potential; high remittances for basic survival; new fiscal federalism approach; cleared some unsustainable debt; environmentally fragile; digitally driven urbanization efforts

Political parties and leaders

select National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) approved parties (as of 2020):

Cosmopolitan Democratic Party [Yarow Sharef ADEN]
Green Party [Ahmed HAJI]
Himilo Qaran Party [Sharif SHEIKH AHMED]
Ilays Party [Abdulkadir OSOBLE]
Justice and Reconciliation Party
National Progressive Party
Peace and Unity Party [Asha ABDALLA]
Qaransoor Party [Abdijabaar SHEIKH AHMED]
Qiimo Qaran Party
Security and Justice Party
Social Justice Party [Mohamed NUR, chairman]
Somali Labour Party[Ali Mohamed APOLLO, chairman]
Somali Republic Party [Abdinur Ahmed DARMAN, chairman]
Somali Social Unity Party or SSUP [Yaasiin Maaxi MACALIN]
Union for Peace and Development Party or PDP [HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud]
Wadajir Party [Abdirahman Abdishakur WARSAME]






note: in 2017 an independent electoral commission (the NIEC) was inaugurated with a mandate to oversee the process of registration of political parties in the country; as of 2021, the NIEC had registered a total of 110 parties

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Berbera, Kismaayo

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Somalia’s economic difficulties in recent years have made it difficult for telcos and the government to sustain investment in infrastructure; the government has also had to contend with militant groups which continue on occasion to force the closure of internet services in many areas of the country; in recent years, though, the government has addressed the lack of guidance which had prevailed since 1991, when a dictatorial regime was overthrown; the National Communications Law was passed in October 2017, aimed at setting a legal and regulatory framework for the telecoms sector, while provision was made in the following year to set up a regulatory authority to oversee the telecom sector; more recently, three types of licenses were mandated to provide clarity to operators, and to bring the market closer into line with international standards; all operators were given until August 2020 to secure one of the three license types; given the poor condition of fixed-line infrastructure, operators have concentrated on mobile connectivity; their investment plans have involved the development of LTE services to provide mobile data and broadband services; the telecom market has flourished; tariffs are among the lowest in Africa, and new cable systems coming on stream in the next few years, as well as planned investments from local operators to bolster the country’s national fiber backbone, will lead to downward pressure on retail pricing; on the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices are under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes as the remnants of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic remain and as global events, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, continue to play out; the market is continuing a positive growth trajectory, supported by a slow economic rebound in the country (2022)

domestic: fixed-line is 1 per 100 and mobile-cellular is 50 per 100 (2022)

international: country code - 252; landing points for the G2A, DARE1, PEACE, and EASSy fiber-optic submarine cable system linking East Africa, Indian Ocean Islands, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe (2019)

Terrain

mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north

Government type

federal parliamentary republic

Government - note

regional and local governing bodies continue to exist and control various areas of the country, including the self-declared Republic of Somaliland in northwestern Somalia

Country name

conventional long form: Federal Republic of Somalia

conventional short form: Somalia

local long form: Jamhuuriyadda Federaalka Soomaaliya (Somali)/ Jumhuriyat as Sumal al Fidiraliyah (Arabic)

local short form: Soomaaliya (Somali)/ As Sumal (Arabic)

former: British Somaliland, Italian Somaliland, Somali Republic, Somali Democratic Republic

etymology: "Land of the Somali" (ethnic group)

Location

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

Map references

Africa

Irrigated land

2,000 sq km (2012)

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Ali Sharif AHMED (since 16 September 2019)

chancery: 1609 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 853-9164

email address and website:
info@somaliembassydc.net

https://somaliembassydc.net/

Internet country code

.so

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and sexually transmitted diseases: hepatitis B (2024)

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

note: on 31 August 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Somalia is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 23,364 (Ethiopia), 9,969 (Yemen) (2023)

IDPs: 3.864 million (civil war since 1988, clan-based competition for resources; famine; insecurity because of fighting between al-Shabaab and the Transitional Federal Government's allied forces) (2022)

GDP (official exchange rate)

$7.052 billion (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

14.7 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 47.9% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 4.2% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

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 (2019)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 96.4% of population

rural: 73.7% of population

total: 84.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 3.6% of population

rural: 26.3% of population

total: 15.8% of population (2020 est.)

National anthem

name: "Qolobaa Calankeed" (Every Nation Has its own Flag)

lyrics/music: lyrics/music: Abdullahi QARSHE

note: adopted 2012; written in 1959
"Qolobaa Calankeed" (Every Nation Has its own Flag)

Major urban areas - population

2.610 million MOGADISHU (capital), 1.127 million Hargeysa (2023)

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt

Physicians density

0.02 physicians/1,000 population (2014)

Hospital bed density

0.9 beds/1,000 population (2017)

National symbol(s)

leopard; national colors: blue, white

Demographic profile

Somalia scores very low for most humanitarian indicators, suffering from poor governance, protracted internal conflict, underdevelopment, economic decline, poverty, social and gender inequality, and environmental degradation. Despite civil war and famine raising its mortality rate, Somalia’s high fertility rate and large proportion of people of reproductive age maintain rapid population growth, with each generation being larger than the prior one. More than 60% of Somalia’s population is younger than 25 as of 2020, and the fertility rate is among the world’s highest at almost 5.5 children per woman – a rate that has decreased little since the 1970s.

A lack of educational and job opportunities is a major source of tension for Somalia’s large youth cohort, making them vulnerable to recruitment by extremist and pirate groups. Somalia has one of the world’s lowest primary school enrollment rates – just over 40% of children are in school – and one of the world’s highest youth unemployment rates. Life expectancy is low as a result of high infant and maternal mortality rates, the spread of preventable diseases, poor sanitation, chronic malnutrition, and inadequate health services.

During the two decades of conflict that followed the fall of the SIAD regime in 1991, hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes. Today Somalia is the world’s fourth highest source country for refugees, after Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan. Insecurity, drought, floods, food shortages, and a lack of economic opportunities are the driving factors.

As of 2022, more than 660,000 Somali refugees were hosted in the region, mainly in Kenya, Yemen, Egypt, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Uganda, while nearly 3 million Somalis were internally displaced. Since the implementation of a tripartite voluntary repatriation agreement among Kenya, Somalia, and the UNHCR in 2013, many Somali refugees have returned home, some 80,000 between 2014 and 2022.  The Kenyan Government in March 2021 ordered the closure of its two largest refugee camps, Dadaab and Kakuma, which then hosted more than 410,000 mainly Somali refugees.  However, the UN refugee agency presented a road map, including voluntary repatriation, relocation to third countries, and alternative stay options that persuaded the Kenyan Government to delay the closures.  The plan was supposed to lead to both camps being closed by 30 June 2022. Yet, as of May 2022, few Somali refugees had decided to return home because of security concerns and the lack of job prospects, instead waiting in the camps unsure of what the future held for them. Other Somali asylum seekers brave the dangers of crossing the Gulf of Aden to reach Yemen – despite its internal conflict – with aspirations to move onward to Saudi Arabia and other locations.


GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 72.6% (2015 est.)

government consumption: 8.7% (2015 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 20% (2015 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.8% (2016 est.)

exports of goods and services: 0.3% (2015 est.)

imports of goods and services: -1.6% (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 99.4

youth dependency ratio: 94.2

elderly dependency ratio: 5.2

potential support ratio: 19.3 (2021 est.)

Citizenship

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

Population distribution

distribution varies greatly throughout the country; least densely populated areas are in the northeast and central regions, as well as areas along the Kenyan border; most populated areas are in and around the cities of Mogadishu, Marka, Boorama, Hargeysa, and Baidoa as shown on this population distribution map

Electricity access

population without electricity: 10 million (2020)

electrification - total population: 49.3% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 70.6% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 30.6% (2021)

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 6 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 7

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 4,486 (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

6O

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 82.4% of population

rural: 33.8% of population

total: 56.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 17.6% of population

rural: 66.2% of population

total: 43.8% of population (2020 est.)

Ethnic groups

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

Religions

Sunni Muslim (Islam) (official, according to the 2012 Transitional Federal Charter)

Languages

Somali (official, according to the 2012 Transitional Federal Charter), Arabic (official, according to the 2012 Transitional Federal Charter), Italian, English

major-language sample(s):
Buugga Xaqiiqda Aduunka, waa laga maarmaanka macluumaadka assasiga. (Somali)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.
Somali audio sample

Imports - partners

United Arab Emirates 32%, China 20%, India 17%, Turkey 7% (2019)

Disputes - international

Somalia-Djibouti: none identified

Somalia-Ethiopia: Ethiopian forces invaded southern Somalia and routed Islamist Courts from Mogadishu in January 2007; the border between the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia, which is inhabited by ethnic Somalis, and Somalia is only partially demarcated under colonial rule and has been the source of tension for decades

Somalia-Kenya: 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; in 2015, the Kenyan Government began building a wall along the border to prevent the crossborder movement of militant groups; the boundary separates ethnic Somalis; in October 2021, the Somalia-Kenya Indian Ocean boundary dispute was decided by the International Court of Justice; the ruling adjusted the boundary slightly north of Somalia’s claim giving Somalia the majority of the contested maritime territory, which is believed to contain rich oil and natural gas deposits; while the decision is legally binding, it has no enforcement mechanism, and Kenya has said it will not abide by it


Elevation

highest point: Mount Shimbiris 2,460 m

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 410 m

Contraceptive prevalence rate

6.9% (2018/19)

Current health expenditure

NA

Literacy

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

Military and security service personnel strengths

estimates vary; approximately 20,000 regular military personnel (2023)

note 1: in January 2023, the Somali Government said the SNA would have 24,000 trained and equipped troops by 2024; it aims to also have about 40,000 police

note 2: as of 2022, there were estimates of up to 50,000 militia forces operating in the country

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the SNA is lightly armed with an inventory that includes a variety of older, secondhand equipment largely from Italy, Russia, South Africa, and the UK; in recent years, it has received small quantities of equipment as aid/donations from a variety of countries, including the US (2023)

Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): al-Shabaab; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham – Somalia

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Food insecurity

exceptional shortfall in aggregate food production/supplies: due to drought conditions and internal conflict - about 6.5 million people are estimated to face severe acute food insecurity between April and June 2023 as a result of consecutive poor rainy seasons since late 2020 and heightened conflict since early 2021 (2023)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 20 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 2 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 3.28 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 2,326,099 tons (2016 est.)

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 14.28 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.65 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 20.13 megatons (2020 est.)

Major aquifers

Ogaden-Juba Basin

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 16.8%

women married by age 18: 35.5%

men married by age 18: 5.6% (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 95.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 1.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 5.663 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 5,900 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Gross reproduction rate

2.57 (2023 est.)

Currently married women (ages 15-49)

62.9% (2023 est.)

Remittances

25.21% of GDP (2020 est.)
24.32% of GDP (2019 est.)
25.31% of GDP (2018 est.)

Labor force

3.042 million (2021 est.)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 34.7% (2021 est.)

male: 32.5%

female: 38.5%

Net migration rate

-1.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Median age

total: 19 years (2023 est.)

male: 19.2 years

female: 18.7 years

Debt - external

$5.3 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

621 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$30.45 million (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

5,590 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Public debt

76.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
93% of GDP (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate

5.22 children born/woman (2023 est.)

Military expenditures

6% of GDP (2021 est.)
6% of GDP (2020 est.)
5.6% of GDP (2019 est.)
6% of GDP (2018 est.)
5.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

Unemployment rate

19.86% (2021 est.)
19.72% (2020 est.)
18.83% (2019 est.)

NA

Population

12,693,796 (2023 est.)

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

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-0.1% (of GDP) (2014 est.)

Internet users

total: 2.465 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 14.5% (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

882,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 882,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

Area

total: 637,657 sq km

land: 627,337 sq km

water: 10,320 sq km

Taxes and other revenues

0% (of GDP) (2020 est.)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$19.399 billion (2021 est.)
$18.644 billion (2020 est.)
$18.191 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 US dollars

Roadways

total: 15,000 km (2013)

Infant mortality rate

total: 85.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 94.7 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 75.2 deaths/1,000 live births

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 8.844 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 50 (2022 est.)

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

36.8 (2017 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.5% (2017 est.)
-71.1% (2016 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Current account balance

-$464 million (2017 est.)
-$427 million (2016 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$1,100 (2021 est.)
$1,100 (2020 est.)
$1,100 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 119,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

8.3% (2016)

Energy consumption per capita

802,000 Btu/person (2019 est.)

Death rate

11.4 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Birth rate

37.7 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 91,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 311.2 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 35 million kWh (2019 est.)

Merchant marine

total: 4 (2023)

by type: general cargo 1, other 3

Imports

$94.43 billion (2018 est.)
$80.07 billion (2017 est.)

Exports

$819 million (2014 est.)
$779 million (2013 est.)

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 91,000 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2022 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 56.1 years (2023 est.)

male: 53.8 years

female: 58.6 years

Real GDP growth rate

4.05% (2021 est.)
2.49% (2020 est.)
7.46% (2019 est.)

Industrial production growth rate

3.5% (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 60.2% (2013 est.)

industry: 7.4% (2013 est.)

services: 32.5% (2013 est.)

Education expenditures

0.3% of GDP (2019) NA

Population growth rate

2.49% (2023 est.)

Military - note

the Somali National Army (SNA) and supporting security and militia forces are actively conducting operations against the al-Shabaab terrorist group (see Appendix T); al-Shabaab controls large parts of southern and central Somalia 

of the SNA’s approximately 13 brigades, the most effective are assessed to be the US-trained Danab ("Lightning") Advanced Infantry Brigade and those of the Turkish-trained Gorgor ("Eagle") Special Division; as of 2023, the Danab Brigade numbered about 2,000 troops with an eventual projected strength of 3,000, while the Gorgor Division was estimated to have up to 5,000 trained troops; the Somali Government has sent thousands of troops to Eritrea and Uganda for training and in 2023 announced plans to send additional personnel to Egypt and Ethiopia for training

the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) operated in the country with the approval of the UN from 2007-2022; its peacekeeping mission included assisting Somali forces in providing security for a stable political process, enabling the gradual handing over of security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somali security forces, and reducing the threat posed by al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups; in April 2022, AMISOM was reconfigured and replaced with the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS); the ATMIS mission is to support the Somalia Federal Government (FGS) in implementing the security objectives of the FGS's security transition plan, a comprehensive strategy developed by the FGS and its international partners in 2018 and updated in 2021 to gradually transfer security responsibilities from ATMIS to Somali security forces; originally about 20,000-strong (civilians, military, and police), ATMIS began reducing its staffing levels in mid-2023; its planned departure from Somalia is the end of 2024

UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM; established 2013) is mandated by the Security Council to work with the FGS to support national reconciliation, provide advice on peace-building and state-building, monitor the human rights situation, and help coordinate the efforts of the international community; the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS; established 2015) is responsible for providing logistical field support to ATMIS, UNSOM, and the Somali security forces on joint operations with ATMIS

the European Union Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM-S) has operated in the country since 2010; the EUTM provides advice and training to the Somali military; the US, UK, and Turkey maintain separate military training missions in Somalia (the US has also supported the SNA with air strikes); the UAE maintains a military presence in Somaliland (2023)

Airports

38 (2024)