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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.
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
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
กใ C are measured in January, in July it is 26 กใ C. The
temperature difference is higher in the city of Berbera
in northern Somalia, where mean values of 24 กใ C are
measured in January and 36 กใ C in July. Maximum values
above 45 กใ C are possible. In the higher elevations of
the mountains, the temperature can drop to freezing in
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 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
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.