Where is Somalia located?

What countries border Somalia?

Somalia Weather

What is the current weather in Somalia?

Somalia Facts and Culture

What is Somalia famous for?

  • Cultural Attributes: Even though larger clans claim higher status, Somalis consider themselves to be equal, and subservient to no one but Allah.... More
  • Family: Loyalty and devotion to the family is important, and families always help each other when in need. This help will... More
  • Personal Apperance: Somali people are usually tall and slender. Men often wear a flowing plaid "ma'awiis" or kilt or pants. A... More
  • Recreation: The favorite leisure activity of adult Somalis is conversation with their friends and relatives. Women entertain each other at home.... More
  • Diet: Locally produced meats and imported rice are on the urban table. In rural areas, the staples are sorghum, millet, corn,... More
  • Food and Recipes: People gather around a communal bowl or platter and eat only with the right hand. Guests are offered larger servings.... More
  • Visiting: A popular time to visit is late afternoon when most work is finished and it is too hot to be... More
  • Dating: The concept of dating does not exist in Somalia, but young people take part in traditional dances. Virginity is valued... More

Somalia Facts

What is the capital of Somalia?

Capital Mogadishu
Government Type federal parliamentary republic
Currency Somali Shilling (SOS)
Total Area 246,199 Square Miles
637,657 Square Kilometers
Location Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, east of Ethiopia
Language Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English
GDP - real growth rate 2.6%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $400.00 (USD)

Somalia Demographics

What is the population of Somalia?

Ethnic Groups Somali 85%, Bantu and other non-Somali 15% (including Arabs 30,000)
Languages Standard Somali with its diverse scripts based on clan affiliation, is now written in Latin script. Literacy has increased dramatically. English, Italian and Arabic are spoken by educated Somali. The Somali language stems from the Cushitic language family.
Nationality Noun Somali(s)
Population 11,757,124
Population - note 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
Population Growth Rate 1.67%
Population in Major Urban Areas MOGADISHU (capital) 1.554 million
Urban Population 37.700000

Somalia Government

What type of government does Somalia have?

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

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
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal suffrage starting with 24 June 2024 local elections
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
National Holiday Foundation of the Somali Republic, 1 July (1960); note - 26 June (1960) in Somaliland
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; amended 2024
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)

Somalia Video

YouTube: Somali Enterprise THIS IS SOMALIA! | A Rich Heritage & A Bright Future | SOMALI ENTERPRISE

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Somalia Geography

What environmental issues does Somalia have?

Climate Climate is the primary factor in much of Somali life. For the large nomadic population, the timing and amount of rainfall are crucial determinants of the adequacy of grazing and the prospects of relative prosperity. During droughts such as in 1974-75 and 1984-85, starvation can occur.

Somalis recognize four seasons, two rainy (gu and day) and two dry (jiilaal and hagaa). The

gu rains begin in April and last until June, producing a fresh supply of pasture and turning the desert into a flowering garden for a brief period. Lush vegetation covers most of the land, especially the central grazing plateau, where grass grows tall. The gu season is followed by the drought (July-September) and the hagaa by the day rains (October-November). Next is jiilaal (December-March), the harshest season for pastoralists and their herds.

Most of the country receives less than 500 millimeters of rain annually, and a large area encompassing the northeast and much of northern Somalia gets as little as 50 to 150 millimeters. However, certain higher areas in the north record more than 500 millimeters a year, as do some coastal sites. The southwest receives 330 to 500 millimeters. Generally, rainfall takes the form of showers or localized torrential rains and is highly variable.

Mean daily maximum temperatures throughout the country range from 30° C to 40° C, except at higher elevations and along the Indian Ocean coast. Mean daily minimum temperatures vary from 20° C to more than 30° C. Northern Somalia experiences the most significant temperature extremes, ranging from below-freezing in the highlands in December to more than 45° C in July in the coastal plain skirting the Gulf of Aden. The north's relative humidity ranges from about 40 percent in midafternoon to 85 percent at night, varying somewhat with the season. During the colder months, December to February, fog often restricts visibility at higher elevations.

Temperatures in the south are less extreme, ranging from about 20° C to 40° C. The hottest months are February through April. Coastal readings are usually five to ten degrees cooler than those inland. The coastal zone's relative humidity usually remains about 70 percent, even during the dry seasons.
Border Countries Djibouti 58 km, Ethiopia 1,600 km, Kenya 682 km
Environment - Current Issues famine; use of contaminated water contributes to human health problems; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
Environment - International Agreements party to: Biodiversity, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection signed but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Terrain mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north

Somalia Economy

How big is the Somalia economy?

Economic Overview Somalia has faced significant economic challenges, largely due to decades of conflict, political instability, and natural disasters.

1. Informal Economy:

Somalia's economy is largely characterized by the informal sector. Informal trade, livestock herding, and remittances from the Somali diaspora play crucial roles in sustaining the economy.

2. Agriculture and Livestock:

Agriculture, including livestock farming, is a key component of Somalia's economy. Livestock exports, particularly of goats and sheep, are significant contributors to the country's income. However, the sector faces challenges such as droughts and inadequate infrastructure.

3. Remittances:

Remittances from Somalis living abroad are a major source of income for many households. These funds contribute significantly to poverty alleviation and economic stability.

4. Political and Security Challenges:

Persistent political instability and security challenges, including the presence of militant groups, have hampered economic development. The lack of a stable government has impeded infrastructure development and foreign investment.

5. Financial System:

Somalia has a cash-based economy, with limited access to formal banking services. Mobile money services have gained popularity, providing a means for financial transactions in areas with limited banking infrastructure.

6. Humanitarian Aid Dependency:

The country has been dependent on humanitarian aid due to recurring droughts, famine, and displacement caused by conflict. Humanitarian efforts play a crucial role in addressing immediate needs and supporting resilience.

7. Oil and Gas Potential:

Somalia has potential oil and gas reserves off its coast, but exploration and development have been hampered by maritime disputes and security concerns.

8. Infrastructure Challenges:

Decades of conflict have left Somalia with inadequate infrastructure, including roads, ports, and telecommunications. Rebuilding these essential structures is crucial for economic development.

9. International Assistance:

International organizations and donor countries provide assistance to Somalia in various forms, including development aid, capacity-building, and humanitarian relief.

10. Economic Reforms:

Efforts to rebuild the economy include economic reforms and institution-building initiatives. However, progress has been slow due to the complex political situation.
Industries a few light industries, including sugar refining, textiles, petroleum refining (mostly shut down), wireless communication
Currency Name and Code Somali Shilling (SOS)
Export Partners UAE 41.8%, Yemen 22.8%, Oman 11.4%
Import Partners Djibouti 30.2%, Kenya 14%, Brazil 8.7%, Thailand 4.9%, UK 4.7%, UAE 4.4%

Somalia News and Current Events

What current events are happening in Somalia?
Source: Google News

Somalia Travel Information

What makes Somalia a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

Since the collapse of the central government in 1991, Somalia has been subject to widespread violence and instability. A Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was established in 2004 to guide the country to a more representative government. The TFG was succeeded by a new federal government in September 2012. In January 2013 the United States officially recognized the Somali government for the first time since 1991. However, the U.S. government does not maintain a diplomatic presence in Somalia at this time.

Somali security forces, with the assistance of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have liberated the capital city of Mogadishu and other key cities in southern and central Somalia from the control of al-Shabaab, a radical Islamist movement affiliated with al-Qa’ida, but the central government’s reach and ability to provide services remains limited. Al-Shabaab still maintains control of towns and villages in Somalia’s countryside and retains the capability to conduct occasional terrorist attacks in Mogadishu.

Regional administrations have evolved in the rest of the country with the most notable being the semi-autonomous state of Puntland in the northeast and Somaliland, which has declared independence, but is unrecognized by any other country, in the northwest. While al-Shabaab has lost ground in southern and central Somalia, it remains capable of terrorist acts and asymmetric warfare. Criminal groups conduct kidnapping for ransom and piracy, particularly in the regions of Galmuduug and Puntland, although the number of incidents have been on the decline with the introduction of land and sea-based initiatives to counter piracy. Inter- and intra-clan violence also frequently occurs throughout the country. Somalia's infrastructure and economy were seriously damaged by the civil war and its aftermath, but the private sector is trying to reemerge and has been boosted by an influx of diaspora returning to Somalia since the end of the transitional period of governance. Tourist facilities are non-existent.


Pervasive and violent crime is an extension of the general state of insecurity in Somalia. Serious, brutal, and often fatal crimes are very common. Kidnapping and robbery are a particular problem in Mogadishu, other areas of the south, and in Galmuduug and Puntland.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Somalia, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Somalia, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not wherever you go.

Persons violating Somalia’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Somalia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

There is no organized system of criminal justice in Somalia, nor is there any recognized or established authority to administer a uniform application of due process. Enforcement of criminal laws is, therefore, haphazard to nonexistent. Locally established courts operate throughout Somalia under a combination of Somali customary and Islamic Shari'a law, some of which may be hostile towards foreigners.

Arrest notifications in host country: Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Somalia, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest, and to have communications from you forwarded to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. However, this is unlikely to happen as there is no U.S. diplomatic representation in Somalia.


Standard Somali with its diverse scripts based on clan affiliation, is now written in Latin script. Literacy has increased dramatically. English, Italian and Arabic are spoken by educated Somali. The Somali language stems from the Cushitic language family.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical facilities in Somalia are extremely limited. Travelers should carry personal supplies of medications with them, as many of the health clinics in Somalia lack a doctor or a nurse and carry substandard supplies.

Malaria is endemic in Somalia; chemoprophylaxis is recommended for all travelers without contraindications. There have been cholera outbreaks in Mogadishu, Kismayo in the south, and Puntland in the northeast.

Presently there is a Polio out-break in Somalia. The majority of cases have been reported in the region of Benadir, including Mogadishu.

Safety and Security

Since the United States does not have an Embassy or any other diplomatic presence in any part of Somalia, including Somaliland and Puntland, the U.S. government cannot provide any consular services to U.S. citizens in Somalia. Limited services for U.S. citizens are available for travelers to Somalia at the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Djibouti.

While Somaliland has experienced a level of stability that has not been present in other parts of Somalia, please note that the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to Somalia, including the self-proclaimed “Independent Republic of Somaliland” -- see the Department’s Travel Warning for Somalia. Travelers insisting on visiting Somaliland despite this warning should check current conditions in Somaliland before embarking on their journey. Terrorist attacks have occurred against international relief workers, including Westerners, throughout Somalia, including Puntland and Somaliland. In every year since 2008, there have been violent kidnappings and assassinations, including by suicide bombing, of local and foreign staff working for international organizations. Additionally, there have been threats against Westerners in Somalia, including Somaliland. No area in Somalia should be considered immune from violence, and the potential exists throughout the country for hostile acts, either targeted or random, against U.S. and other Western nationals at any time. Despite improved security in Mogadishu, insurgents have conducted 12 high profile attacks in 2013. These attacks have consisted of complex assaults, improvised explosive device (IED) detonations and suicide bombings. Insurgents target various Somali government facilities continuously in Mogadishu.

On September 7, suicide bombers killed nearly 20 people at a restaurant popular with government officials and foreigners.The attempted kidnapping of a visiting Swedish politician and the death of her driver and translator on August 21, 2013 in Mogadishu is an example of the risks travelers face in Mogadishu. Terrorist operatives and armed groups in Somalia have demonstrated the intent to attack UN compounds and other places frequented by foreigners in Mogadishu, including Mogadishu International Airport. Recent terrorist attacks, including a vehicular born improvised explosive device (VBIED) attack at the United Nations Common Compound in Mogadishu on June 19, 2013 and the VBIED attack on the Turkish diplomatic residence in Mogadishu on July 27, 2013, demonstrate that al-Shabaab retains the capability to target Westerners and international aid workers in Mogadishu. Additionally, al-Shabaab controls portions of southern and central Somalia. Persons traveling to Somalia should be aware that incidents such as armed banditry, road assaults, kidnappings for ransom, shootings and grenade attacks on public markets, and detonations of anti-personnel and-vehicle land mines occur in most parts of the country. Al-Shabaab remains engaged in active warfare against the central government and regional administrations, including Puntland and Galmuduug. Also, illegal roadblocks by armed men, sometimes in government uniforms, remain common throughout Somalia and have resulted in serious injury or death.

Cross-border violence occurs periodically. The area near Somalia’s border with Kenya has been the site of numerous violent incidents, ranging from large-scale clashes between al-Shabaab and the central government to kidnappings, and grenade attacks on hostels used by international aid workers. U.S. citizens who decide to visit the area should be aware that they could encounter such incidents.

U.S. citizens considering seaborne travel around Somalia’s coast should exercise extreme caution, given the threat of vessel hijacking and/or piracy off south central Somalia and Puntland. When transiting in and around the Horn of Africa and/or in the Red Sea, it is strongly recommended that vessels convoy and maintain good communications contact at all times. Marine channels 13 and 16 VHF-FM are international call-up and emergency channels and are commonly monitored by ships at sea. The HF international call-up and emergency channel is 2182 MHz. In the Gulf of Aden, transit routes farther offshore reduce, but do not eliminate, the risk of contact with suspected assailants. Wherever possible, travel in trafficked sea-lanes. Avoid loitering in or transiting isolated or remote areas. In the event of an attack, consider activating the “Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB).” In the Gulf of Aden, vessels may also contact the Yemeni Coast Guard 24-hour Operations Center at (967) 1-562-402. The Operations Center staff speaks English. Due to distances involved, there may be a considerable delay before assistance arrives.

The United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) has advised that elevated regional tensions have increased the risk of maritime attacks being conducted by violent extremists to vessels operating in the Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Bab el Mandeb regions.

MARAD recommends vessels at anchor, operating in restricted maneuvering environments, or at slow speeds should be especially vigilant, and report suspicious activity. U.S. flag vessels that observe suspicious activity in the area are advised to report such suspicious activity or any hostile or potentially hostile action to COMUSNAVCENT battle watch captain at phone number 011-973-1785-3879. All suspicious activities and events are also to be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at the following toll free telephone: 1-800-424-8802, direct telephone 202-267-2675, or TDD 202-267-4477. The complete advisory is available on the MARAD website at www.MARAD.DOT.gov.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in Somalia you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. There are no traffic lights anywhere in Somalia. The poor condition of most roads makes driving hazardous. Night driving can be dangerous due to the absence of lighting. In many areas, drivers risk explosion of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) or landmines.

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