Geographic and Governmental Profile of Somalia

Background
Britain withdrew from British Somaliland in 1960 to allow its protectorate to join with Italian Somaliland and form the new nation of Somalia. 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 efforts 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 portions of eastern Sool and 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. 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 United Nations-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 the addition of 200 ARS and 75 civil society members of parliament. The expanded parliament elected Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed, the former ICU and ARS chairman as president 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 appointed 275 members to a new parliament replacing the TFP and the subsequent election, by parliament, of a new president.
Location
Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, east of Ethiopia
Geographic coordinates
10 00 N, 49 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Africa
Area
total:
637,657 sq km
rank:
44
land:
627,337 sq km
water:
10,320 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Texas
Land boundaries
total:
2,340 km
border countries:
Djibouti 58 km, Ethiopia 1,600 km, Kenya 682 km
Coastline
3,025 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
200 nm
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
Terrain
mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Shimbiris 2,416 m
Natural resources
uranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt, natural gas, likely oil reserves
Land use
arable land:
1.64%
permanent crops:
0.04%
other:
98.32% (2005)
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Irrigated land
2,000 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
15.7 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
3.29 cu km/yr (0%/0%/100%)
per capita:
400 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
recurring droughts; frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer; floods during rainy season
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
Geography - note
strategic location on Horn of Africa along southern approaches to Bab el Mandeb and route through Red Sea and Suez Canal
Country name
conventional long form:
none
conventional short form:
Somalia
local long form:
Jamhuuriyada Demuqraadiga Soomaaliyeed
local short form:
Soomaaliya
former:
Somali Republic, Somali Democratic Republic
Government type
no permanent national government; transitional, parliamentary federal government
Capital
name:
Mogadishu
geographic coordinates:
2 04 N, 45 20 E
time difference:
UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
18 regions (plural - NA, singular - gobolka); 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
Independence
1 July 1960 (from a merger of British Somaliland that became independent from the UK on 26 June 1960 and Italian Somaliland that became independent from the Italian-administered UN trusteeship on 1 July 1960 to form the Somali Republic)
National holiday
Foundation of the Somali Republic, 1 July (1960); note - 26 June (1960) in Somaliland
Constitution
none in force
a Transitional Federal Charter was established in February 2004 and is expected to serve as the basis for a future constitution in Somalia
Legal system
mixed legal system of civil law, Islamic law, and customary law (referred to as Xeer)
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President HASSAN SHEIKH Mahamud (since 10 September 2012)
head of government:
Prime Minister ABDIWELI Mohamed Ali (since 28 June 2011)
cabinet:
Cabinet appointed by the president approved by the National Parliament
elections:
president elected by the National Parliament; election last held 10 September 2012
election results:
HASSAN SHEIKH Mahamud elected president; National Parliament vote - HASSAN SHEIKH Mahamud 190, Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed 79; president chooses the prime minister, who is then elected by National Parliament
Legislative branch
unicameral National Parliament
unicameral National Parliament (275 seats; appointed by clan elders)
Judicial branch
following the breakdown of the central government, most regions have reverted to local forms of conflict resolution, either secular, traditional Somali customary law, or sharia (Islamic) law with a provision for appeal of all sentences; under the Transitional Federal Government, a Supreme Court based in Mogadishu, as well as an Appeals Court were established
Political parties and leaders
none
Political pressure groups and leaders
other:
numerous clan and sub-clan factions exist both in support and in opposition to the transitional government
International organization participation
ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AU, CAEU, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITSO, ITU, LAS, NAM, OIC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US
Somalia does not have an embassy in the US (ceased operations on 8 May 1991); note - the Transitional Federal Government is represented in the United States through its Permanent Mission to the United Nations
Diplomatic representation from the US
the US does not have an embassy in Somalia; US interests are represented by the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya at United Nations Avenue, Nairobi; mailing address: Unit 64100, Nairobi; APO AE 09831; telephone: [254] (20) 363-6000; FAX [254] (20) 363-6157
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)
National symbol(s)
leopard
National anthem
name:
"Soomaaliyeey toosoo" (Somalia Wake Up)
lyrics/music:
Ali Mire AWALE and Yuusuf Xaaji Aadan Cilmi QABILLE
adopted 2000; written in 1947, the lyrics speak of creating unity and an end to fighting
Government - note
although a transitional government was created in 2004, other regional and local governing bodies continue to exist and control various regions of the country, including the self-declared Republic of Somaliland in northwestern Somalia and the semi-autonomous State of Puntland in northeastern Somalia
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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