Somalia Overview

By | January 23, 2021
Jamhuuriyadda Soomaaliya
Official language Somali, Arabic
Capital Mogadishu
Form of government republic
Area 637.657 km²
Residents ¡¡
Currency Somalia shilling
Time zone MSK (UTC +3)
License plate SO
Internet TLD .so
Telephone area code 00252 (Source: ALLCITYCODES)


The Republic of Somalia is located in the Horn of Africa and is the easternmost country on the continent. In the north, the country borders on Djibouti and the Gulf of Aden, in the east and south on the Indian Ocean (a total of around 3,300 km of coastline), in the southwest on Kenya and in the west and northwest on Ethiopia. With an area of ​​637 657 km², the country is almost twice as large as Germany. See Somalia country abbreviation.

The north of Somalia is characterized by the foothills of the Ethiopian highlands, which drop steeply towards the north (Gulf of Aden) to a narrow coastal strip. In the highlands is the highest mountain in the country, the Shimbiris at 2,416 m. To the south, the highlands gradually flatten out to a hull area around 500 m above sea level, which is surmounted by individual island mountains. The southeastern section of the coast is separated by a belt of dunes up to 50 km wide. In the far south, there is a large fill level of the Webi Shebeli and Webi Jubba rivers, which, unlike most other Somali rivers, carry water all year round and flow here into the Indian Ocean. The capital Mogadishu is located in the south of the country on the coast to the Indian Ocean.


The monsoon climate prevails in Somalia: from April to October, the southwest monsoon leads to humid air masses in the south of the country, in winter the northeast monsoon leads to precipitation in northern Somalia. While an annual average of up to 400 mm is measured in the south, it is usually less than 50 mm in the north. The temperatures are consistently high all year round, in the capital Mogadishu mean values ​​of 25 °C are measured in January, in July it is 26 °C. The temperature difference is higher in the city of Berbera in northern Somalia, where mean values ​​of 24 °C are measured in January and 36 °C in July. Maximum values ​​above 45 °C are possible. In the higher elevations of the mountains, the temperature can drop to freezing in winter.

Flora and fauna

The low-precipitation northern part of Somalia is occupied by semi-desert with isolated palm oases and smaller bushes. To the south follows thorn shrub savannah (acacia, myrrh, frankincense tree), then dry savannah with dense shrub and grass vegetation. In the mountains there are remaining stocks of dry forests with juniper vegetation. In the south of Somalia, mainly mangroves grow in the coastal areas, along the rivers there are swamp areas. Acacias grow in the dune belt in the southeast of the country.

In the savannah areas of Somalia mainly in the south live antelopes (eg oryx), zebras, giraffes, lions, leopards, elephants, jackals and hyenas. Crocodiles and hippos live in the swamps. The Somali wild ass is rare. Several nature reserves and game reserves have been created to protect wildlife.


Estimates of Somalia’s population are only available since the last official census was in 1987. Since then, factors such as the massive movements of refugees and the numerous fatalities in the civil war have influenced the number as unpredictably as the migration of nomadic tribes in the desert areas. In general, around 8.5 to 9.5 million people are expected, almost half of whom are under the age of 15.

Most Somalia residents belong to the Cushite Somal tribes (85%), the rest are Bantu or Arabs. Sunni Islam is the state religion. Belonging to the different clans (eg Dir, Ishaq, Darod, Hawiye, Digil, Rahanweyn) still determines the social structure of the country and the position of the individual in it. The official language is Somali; Arabic, English and Italian are used as the commercial and communication language.

The average population density in Somalia is around 13 people per square kilometer. Around a quarter of the people live in cities, the majority of the rural population lives as nomads or semi-nomads. The most densely populated region is the metropolitan area around the capital Mogadishu with almost 1.2 million residents. Hargeysa, the capital of the previously unrecognized Republic of Somaliland (in the north of Somalia), now has more residents than Mogadishu; due to the high number of refugees, exact information does not exist.

Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world, and a large part of the population lives below the poverty line. According to COUNTRYAAH, life expectancy is 48 years. Health and education systems are poor; infant mortality is very high (11.7%), and population growth due to high birth rates (3.0%). The proportion of illiterate people in the population is estimated at over 60%. The civil was fled more than half a million Somalis abroad. The capital Mogadishu was largely destroyed in the late 1990s as a result of the civil war.

somalia population density

Political system

Somalia is a federal republic under the 2012 provisional constitution. The head of state (Hassan Sheikh Mohamud since September 2012) is elected by parliament every four years. Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed has been head of government since December 2013.

The Parliament consists of two houses: the Senate with 54 appointed members (reappointed every four years) and the House of the People with 275 appointed members (reappointment every four years).

Islamic law (Sharia law) applies.

Somalia is currently divided into 18 regions (Gobolka). Special cases that strive for autonomy to different degrees are Somaliland, Puntland Galmudug and Jubaland.


Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is severely underdeveloped, the infrastructure has been almost completely destroyed by the civil war.

Livelihood, which is predominantly run by nomads and semi-nomads, and agriculture continue to form the basis of life for a large part of the population. More than two thirds of the export earnings come from this area, mainly live animals, hides and skins as well as bananas and dates are exported. For their own use, millet, sugar cane, sesame and corn are mainly grown. Fishing on the coast (Somalia is the African country with the longest coastline) is important for feeding its own population.

Many of the industrial plants were closed during the civil war. Mineral resources include deposits of gold, silver, tungsten, copper, iron, tin, uranium and oil, but these are hardly extracted.

There is an international airport near the capital Mogadishu. Around 22,500 km of roads are available, of which around 2,700 km are paved.

The currency is the Somali shilling.