Population 10,616,380 (CIA World Fact Book, July 2015 est.)
Independence 1960, United Kingdom and Italy
Languages Somali (official), Arabic, English, Italian
Form of government Federal Parliamentary Republic
GDP (2012) $1.306 billion; per capita (2012): $128

Somalia, which is located in the Horn of Africa, is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Kenya to the southwest. Composed of a former British protectorate and an Italian colony, the northeast African nation of Somalia was created in 1960 when the two territories merged. In 1991, the downfall of a long-serving authoritarian regime led to two decades of minimal federal governance and civil war between rival clans. Peace talks in 2000 and 2004 led to the establishment of interim governments that failed to provide meaningful security or build governing institutions, and fighting continued. An African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission was instated in 2006 and has been regularly reauthorized.

Ongoing instability was exacerbated in 2011 by the worst drought in six decades, leaving millions of people on the verge of starvation and causing tens of thousands to flee to neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia in search of food. In 2012, an internationally-backed federal government was in place with the appointment of a new parliament; parliament then elected a new president. Since that time, the country has progressed on a path to stability and reconstruction.

Despite improved governance, the emergence of a an insurgent group called al-Shabab in recent years has prolonged Somalia’s civil conflict. Al-Shabab retains control over some rural regions of Somalia and carries out regular violent bombings and other terrorist attacks targeting civilians, military personnel and bases, government officials, and foreigners. The AU peacekeeping force is still active, though its role shifted in 2010 from ending the civil war to supporting the Government of Somalia in its military efforts to end the al-Shabab insurgency.


Government Title Name
President H.E. HASSAN SHEIKH Mohamud
Prime Minister H.E. Omar Abdirashid Ali SHARMARKE
Minister of Finance H.E. Mohamed ADAN IBRAHIM
g7+ Focal Point Ms. Hodan OSMAN, Advisor, Ministry of Finance

New Deal Implementation

Somalia is a member of the g7+ and has endorsed the New Deal. The federal government established a New Deal Compact in 2013, explicitly designed to be an organizing framework for the delivery of donor assistance in line with New Deal principles. The High-Level Partnership Forum on Somalia in Copenhagen in November 2014 reaffirmed the New Deal as the overall framework for Somalia’s post-conflict transformation, as well as the need to translate the partnership enshrined in the Somali Compact into concrete actions, and the urgency of delivery.

A new constitution, president, parliament, prime minister, and cabinet were established in 2012. The head of state is the President, who was elected by parliament. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who was selected by the President and confirmed by parliament.

The current 275-member parliament was appointed by the National Constituent Assembly, a group of 640 clan elders, local leaders, youth, and women. Elections scheduled for 2016 have been postponed due to ongoing security challenges.

The autonomous region of Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 and has its own constitution and popularly elected government, with a president, a council of ministers, and a bicameral parliament. The semi-autonomous region of Puntland declared its autonomy in 1998, but does not seek full independence. Neither region is recognized as a sovereign state by the international community.

Somalia’s ongoing instability presents endemic  humanitarian emergency. Drought and subsequent famine in 2011 led to 260,000 deaths, and recovery has been slow. Ongoing violence, damaged infrastructure and limited government oversight in rural areas are challenges to delivery of social services. Less than half of Somalia’s children are in school, access to clean water and healthcare are limited, and employment opportunities are scarce. Maternal and child mortality and acute malnutrition rates are among the worst in the world.

The new Government of Somalia has expressed its commitment to eradicating the al-Shabab insurgency and engaging in inclusive peace and reconciliation. Its Vision 2016 is focused on strengthening good governance and free and fair electoral systems as a foundation for social cohesion, improved health and education outcomes, and economic growth. 

Somalia’s ongoing violence and limited human capital are significant barriers to private investment. The absence of a functioning financial sector and narrow export base are further limiting factors of economic growth. 60% of Somalia’s population relies on pastoralism-based livestock production as a primary source of income, and 80% of foreign currency is generated by livestock, hides, and meat exports. Fish, charcoal, and bananas are other main exports. Somalia is heavily reliant on remittances from abroad, as well as official development assistance, which is beginning to shift from humanitarian relief to long-term growth under the framework of Somalia’s New Deal Compact.

In addition to livestock and agriculture, the telecommunications sector is growing and offers lucrative opportunities for investment. In recognition of the constraints to private sector growth, the Government of Somalia has committed to mainstreaming trade and economic diversification into the national development agenda, with a specific focus on natural resource management, youth employment, developing productive sectors, and improving infrastructure.