Country Profile

Country Profile - Somalia

Country Profile of Somalia

The SIAD BARRE regime was ousted in January 1991; turmoil, factional fighting, and anarchy have followed for eleven years. In May of 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, aided by the overwhelming dominance of a ruling clan and economic infrastructure left behind by British, Russian, and American military assistance programs. The regions of Bari and Nugaal 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 towards reconstructing legitimate, representative government. Puntland also claims Sool and eastern 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 Transitional National Government (TNG) was created in August 2000 in Arta, Djibouti which was attended by a broad representation of Somali clans. The TNG has a three-year mandate to create a permanent national Somali government. The TNG does not recognize Somaliland as an independent republic but so far has been unable to reunite either Somaliland or Puntland with the unstable regions in the south. Numerous warlords and factions are still fighting for control of Mogadishu and the other southern regions. Suspicion of Somali links with global terrorism complicate the picture.

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

Head of State: President HASSAN SHEIKH Mahamud (since 10 September 2012)
head of government: Prime Minister Abdi Farrah SHIRDON Said (since 6 October 2012)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president approved by the National Parliament

Capital: Mogadishu

Population: 10,251,568 (July 2013 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.67% (2013 est.)

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

Languages: Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English

Religion: Sunni Muslim

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)

Currency: Somali shilling (SOS)

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