From Academic Kids

Somalia (Somali: Soomaaliya; Arabic: الصومال, As-Sumal), formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic, is a coastal nation in East Africa. Continentally, it is entirely surrounded by Ethiopia and Djibouti on the north and mid-west, and Kenya on its south-west; with the Gulf of Aden on its east. It currently exists solely in a de jure capacity, which can be described as anarchy. Somalia has no recognized central government authority, no national currency, nor any other feature remotely associated with an established nation state. However, much of Somali society is highly organized, businesses are functioning (some sectors doing remarkably well), and is home to several private universities. De facto authority resides in the hands of the governments for the unrecognized entities of Somaliland, Puntland, and other small rival warlords.

Missing image
Flag of Somalia

Missing image
Coat of Arms of Somalia

(Flag) (Coat of Arms)
Motto: None
Anthem: Somalian National Anthem
Location of Somalia
Capital Mogadishu
Template:Coor dm
Largest city Mogadishu
Official languages Somali
Government none
Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed

Ali Muhammad Ghedi

 - Merged territory
From the United Kingdom and Italy
July 1, 1960
 • Total
 • Water (%)
637,657 km² (41st)
 • 2005 est.
 • 1975 census
 • Density
8,591,629 (87)
13/km² (170)
 • Total
 • Per capita
2004 estimate
4,597,000,000 (n/a)
600 (n/a)
Currency Shilling (SOS)
Time zone
 • Summer (DST)
not observed (UTC+3)
Internet TLD .so
Calling code +252


Main article: History of Somalia

Intermittent civil war has been a fact of life in Somalia since 1977. In 1991, the northern portion of the country declared its independence as Somaliland; although de facto independent and relatively stable compared to the tumultuous south, it has not been recognized by any foreign government.

Beginning in 1993, a two-year UN humanitarian effort (primarily in the south) was able to alleviate famine conditions, but the UN withdrew in Operation United Shield by March 3 1995, having suffered significant casualties, order had still not been restored.

Yet again another secession from Somalia took place in the northeastern region. The self-proclaimed state took the name Puntland after declaring "temporary" independence in 1998, with the intention that it would participate in any Somali reconciliation to form a new central government.

A third seccession occurred in 1998 with the declaration of the state of Jubaland. The territory of Jubaland is now encompassed by the state of Southwestern Somalia and its status is unclear.

A fourth self-proclaimed entity led by the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA) was set up in 1999, along the lines of the Puntland. That "temporary" secession was reasserted in 2002. This led to the autonomy of Southwestern Somalia. The RRA had originally set up an autonomous administration over the Bay and Bakool regions of south and central Somalia in 1999.

Template:2004Earthquake Somalia was one of the many countries devastated by the resulting tsunami which struck the Indian Ocean coast, destroying entire villages and killing an estimated 300 people.


Main article: Politics of Somalia

Somalia has no effective national government. In the northwest, there is a breakaway republic of Somaliland. In the rest of the country there are various warlords, cf. Puntland and Southwestern Somalia. The internationally-recognised government is the Transitional National Government, originally headed by Abdulkassim Salat Hassan, which controls only part of the capital, Mogadishu.

On October 10, 2004 Somali MPs elected Abdullahi Yusuf, president of Puntland, to be the next president. Because of the chaotic situation in Mogadishu, the election was held in a sports centre in Nairobi, Kenya. Yusuf was elected transitional President by Somalia's transitional parliament. He won 189 of the 275 votes from parliament. The session of Parliament was also held in neighbouring Kenya. His government is recognized by most western nations as the country's legitimate rulers, though his actual authority is extremely questionable.

Many other small political organizations exist, some clan-based, others seeking a Somalia free from clan-based politics (such as the United Somali Front). Many of them have come into existence since the new president was chosen.

See also List of notable Somali leaders.


Somalia has a population of around 8,591,000. However, estimates are difficult because of the continuing situation. The last census was in 1975. Most outside analysts use this estimate but Somalia is one of the fastest growing countries in Africa and the world. Some estimates range between 6 to 15 million. If current trends continue, Somalia could have as many as 40 million people by 2050.


Main article: Regions of Somalia

Missing image
Diagram of Somalian factions along regional borders

Somalia is divided into 18 regions (singular gobolka, plural gobollada):


Map of Somalia including the self-proclaimed boundary of Somaliland
Map of Somalia including the self-proclaimed boundary of Somaliland

Main article: Geography of Somalia

Somalia is located on the east coast of Africa on and north of the Equator between the Gulf of Aden on the north and Indian Ocean on the east. Together with Ethiopia and Djibouti it is often referred to as the Horn of Africa. It borders Djibouti on the northwest, Ethiopia on the west, and Kenya on southwest. Somalia comprises Italy's former Trust Territory of Somalia and the former British Protectorate of Somaliland (now seeking recognition as an independent state). The coastline extends 2,720 kilometres (1,700 mi) -- the most on the continent.

The northern part of the country is hilly, and in many places the altitude ranges between 900 and 2,100 metres (3,000 ft.-7,000 ft.) above sea level. The central and southern areas are flat, with an average altitude of less than 180 metres (600 ft.). The Juba and the Shebelle Rivers rise in Ethiopia and flow south across the country towards the Indian Ocean. The Shebelle, however, does not reach the sea except during seasons of high rain.

Major climatic factors are a year-round hot climate, seasonal monsoon winds, and irregular rainfall with recurring droughts. Mean daily maximum temperatures range from 30°C to 40°C (85° F-105°F), except at higher elevations and along the east coast. Mean daily minimums usually vary from about 15°C to 30°C (60°F-85°F). The southwest monsoon, a sea breeze, makes the period from about May to October the mildest season at Mogadishu. The December-February period of the northeast monsoon is also relatively mild, although prevailing climatic conditions in Mogadishu are rarely pleasant. The "tangambili" periods that intervene between the two monsoons (October-November and March-May) are hot and humid.


Main article: Economy of Somalia

Somalia has a market economy. As one of the world's poorest and least developed countries, Somalia has relatively few resources. Much of the economy has been devastated by the civil war, but has gained significant ground since the collapse of the government. 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. After livestock, bananas are the principal export; sugar, sorghum, maize, and fish are products for the domestic market. The small industrial sector, based on the processing of agricultural products, accounts for 10% of GDP; most facilities have been shut down because of the civil strife. Moreover, in 1999, continuing civil disturbances in Mogadishu and outlying areas interfered with any substantial economic advance and with international aid arrangements.

Some areas in Somalia are actually doing better economically than before the war when the socialist government of Siad Barre had suppressed free enterprise and neglected large parts of the country. Northern Somalia especially has rebounded economically. The lack of a government made a genuine capitalist economy, with no taxes and no other government red tape that free market economists claim stifles economic growth in neighboring countries. The main problem affecting economic growth however, is the lack of stability in the south of the country. An example of this is that in Mogadishu, some businessmen would prefer to pay taxes to a government to maintain security rather than to warlords.

Remittance sevices has become a large industry in Somalia. Successful people from the world-wide diaspora who fled because of the war contribute to the economy around $2 billion annually. Wireless communications has also become an giant economic force in Somalia. Because of the war, nobody really knows the size of the economy or how much it is growing.

Demographics and Languages

Main article: Demographics of Somalia

As early as the seventh century, indigenous Cushitic peoples began to mingle with Arab and Persian traders who had settled along the coast. Interaction over the centuries led to the emergence of a Somali culture bound by common traditions, a single language, and the Islamic faith.

Today, about 60% of all Somalis are nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoralists who raise cattle, camels, sheep, and goats. About 25% of the population are settled farmers who live mainly in the fertile agricultural region between the Juba and Shebelle rivers in southern Somalia. The remainder of the population (15%-20%) is urban.

Sizable ethnic groups in the country include Bantu agricultural workers, several thousand Arabs and some hundreds of Indians and Pakistanis. Apart from the Brava people who speak a language similar to Swahili, nearly all inhabitants speak the Somali language. A population of Italian descent, which dated back to Somalia's colonial era, began to emigrate following independence and by the outbreak of war most Italian Somalis had left the country.

The language remained unwritten until October 1973, when the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) proclaimed it the nation's official language and decreed an orthography using Latin letters. Somali is now the language of instruction in schools, which are few. Arabic, English, and Italian also are used extensively.


Main article: Culture of Somalia


Somalia actually has much better telecommunication services than its neighbours, despite (or perhaps due to) its lack of government. Somalia has some of the cheaper calling rates in the world with some companies charge less than a cent a minute. Some of the factors that have created this situation are lack of a government-granted monopoly and taxation, and the neutrality of telecommunication firms vis-a-vis the warlords [1] ( Companies providing telecommunication services are:

See also

External links

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Countries in Africa

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Dependencies: Canary Islands | Ceuta and Melilla | Madeira Islands | Mayotte | Runion | Saint Helena and dependencies

ca:Somlia da:Somalia de:Somalia et:Somaalia es:Somalia eo:Somalio fr:Somalie ko:소말리아 hi:सोमालिया io:Somalia id:Somalia it:Somalia he:סומליה la:Somalia lv:Somālija lt:Somalis ms:Somalia nl:Somali nds:Somalia ja:ソマリア no:Somalia pl:Somalia pt:Somlia ro:Somalia ru:Сомали sa:सोमालिया sk:Somlsko sl:Somalija fi:Somalia sv:Somalia th:ประเทศโซมาเลีย uk:Сомалі zh:索马里 so:Soomaaliya


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