Somalia (GPS: 10 00 N, 49 00 E) is located in Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, east of Ethiopia. The country’s area measurements are total: 637,657 sq km; land: 627,337 sq km, water: 10,320 sq km. This sovereign state is almost five times the size of Alabama, slightly smaller than Texas. The total irrigated land is 2,000 sq km (2012).
One of the essential features of Somalia: Strategic location in the Horn of Africa along with southern approaches to Bab el Mandeb and route through the Red Sea and Suez Canal.
It’s significant, and simultaneously, the principal city, Mogadishu’s GPS coordinates are 2 04 N 45 20 E. Mogadishu’s local time is 8 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+3.
Britain withdrew from British Somaliland in 1960 to allow its protectorate to join with Italian Somaliland and form the new Somalia’s new nation. In 1969, a coup headed by Mohamed SIAD Barre ushered in an authoritarian socialist rule characterized by the persecution, jailing, and torture of political opponents and dissidents. 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 to establish a constitutional democracy, including holding municipal, parliamentary, and presidential elections.
The regions of Bari, Nugaal, and northern Mudug comprise a neighboring semi-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 the regions of Sool and Sanaag and portions of Togdheer. Beginning in 1993, a two-year UN humanitarian effort (primarily in south-central Somalia) alleviated famine conditions. However, when the UN withdrew in 1995, having suffered significant casualties, the order still had not been restored. In 2000, the Somalia National Peace Conference (SNPC) held in Djibouti resulted in the formation of an interim government, known as the Transitional National Government (TNG).
When the TNG failed to establish adequate security or governing institutions, the Government of Kenya, under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), led a subsequent peace process that concluded in October 2004 with the election of Abdullahi YUSUF Ahmed as President of a second interim government, known as the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of the Somali Republic. The TFG included a 275-member parliamentary body, known as the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP). President YUSUF resigned late in 2008 while UN-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 Islamic Courts Union (ICU), withdrew from the country.
The TFP was doubled in size to 550 seats with 200 ARS and 75 civil society members of parliament. The expanded parliament elected Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed, the former ICU and ARS chairman in January 2009. The creation of the TFG was based on the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC), which outlined a five-year mandate leading to the establishment of a new Somali constitution and a transition to a representative government following national elections. In 2009, the TFP amended the TFC to extend TFG’s mandate until 2011, and in 2011, Somali principals agreed to institute political transition by August 2012. The transition process ended in September 2012 when clan elders replaced the TFP by appointing 275 members to a new parliament who subsequently elected a new president.
Somalia’s names conventional long form: the Federal Republic of Somalia, traditional short form: Somalia, local long way: Jamhuuriyadda Federaalkaa Soomaaliya, local transient state: Soomaaliya, former: Somali Republic, Somali Democratic Republic, etymology: “Land of the Somali” (ethnic group). “Land of the Somali” (ethnic group).
Somalia’s terrain is typically mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in the north. The country’s mean elevation: 410 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m, highest point: Shimbiris 2,416 m.
The general climate in the country; principally desert: northeast monsoon (December to February), moderate temperatures in north and hot in the south: southwest monsoon (May to October), torrid in the north and seductive in the south, irregular rainfall, hot and humid periods (tangambili) between monsoons.
The total number of border countries is 3, Djibouti 61 km, Ethiopia 1,640 km, Kenya 684 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Somalia’s coastline is 3,025 km, while its marital claims are: territorial sea: 200 nautical miles. Waterways: N/A. Land use: agricultural land: 70.3%; arable land 1.8%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 68.5%; forest: 10.6%; other: 19.1% (2011 estimate).
The population in Somalia 11,259,029 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 39.6% of total population (2015), central metropolitan area’s population: MOGADISHU (capital) 2.138 million; Hargeysa 760,000 (2015), while Somalia has N/A. Their spoken languages are Somali (official language), Arabic (official language, according to the Transitional Federal Charter), Italian, English. The main religions in Somalia are Sunni Muslims (Islam) (official, according to the Transitional Federal Charter). The nation uses mixed legal system of civil law, Islamic law, and customary law (referred to as Xeer). It is a(n) federal parliamentary republic, National holiday(s) Foundation of the Somali Republic, 1 July (1960).
Economic overview for the country: Despite the lack of effective national governance, Somalia maintains an informal economy based mainly on livestock, remittance/money transfer companies, and telecommunications. Somalia’s government cannot collect domestic revenue, and external debt, mostly in arrears was estimated at 77% of GDP in 2017. Agriculture is the most important sector, with livestock typically accounting for about 40% of GDP and more than 50% of export earnings. Nomads and semi-pastoralists, who are dependent upon livestock for their livelihood, make up many of the population. Economic activity is estimated to have increased by 2.4% in 2017 because of growth in the agriculture, construction, and telecommunications sector.
Somalia’s small industrial sector, based on agricultural products’ processing, has largely been looted and the machinery sold as scrap metal. In recent years, Somalia’s capital city, Mogadishu, has witnessed the city’s first gas stations, supermarkets, and airline flights to Turkey since the collapse of central authority in 1991. Mogadishu’s primary market offers a variety of goods, from food to electronic gadgets.
Hotels continue to operate and are supported by private-security militias. Formalized economic growth has yet to expand outside of Mogadishu and a few regional capitals, and within the city, security concerns dominate business. 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 up to $1.6 billion in remittances annually. However, international concerns over the money transfers into Somalia continues to threaten these services’ ability to operate in Western nations. In 2017, Somalia elected a new president and collected a record amount of foreign aid and investment, a positive sign for economic recovery.
Somalia’s natural resources: uranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt, natural gas, likely oil reserves.
Main export partners for Somalia, Africa are UAE 45.8%, Yemen 19.7%, Oman 15.9% (2015) for livestock, bananas, hides, fish, charcoal, scrap metal, while the main import partners for the country are: Djibouti 18.7%, India 16.5%, China 11.8%, Oman 8.7%, Kenya 6.1%, Pakistan 4.4% (2015) for manufactures, petroleum products, foodstuffs, construction materials, qat.
When you visit this country in Africa, consider the natural hazards in Somalia: Recurring droughts, frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer, floods during rainy season, while infectious diseases are degree of risk: very 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: schistosomiasisanimal contact disease: rabies (2016). Also, note that Somalia faces the following environmental issues: Water scarcity, Contaminated water contributes to human health problems, Improper waste disposal, Deforestation, Land degradation, Overgrazing, Soil erosion, Desertification.
You may also be interested in the countries next to Somalia around its total: 2,385 km border, like Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya.