Somalia - Statistics & Facts

Located in Eastern Africa, Somalia is a country that has been in an prolonged state of war since 1960. Vulnerable to extended periods of famine and epidemics, and lacking basic services such as sanitation or medical care, the population continues to increase, largely driven by the consequential high fertility rate, which amounts to almost 6 children per woman. Somalia is thus one of the most fertile countries around the world. Additionally, Somalia’s population is quite young; roughly half of the inhabitants are 14 years and younger, and the median age of the population is only 16.5 years - unsurprisingly, life expectancy at birth is also devastastingly low at only about 55 years. A high scarcity of water and food, shortage of proper medical services, as well as a high terrorism risk result in Somalia having one of the highest mortality rates worldwide - and the second-highest mortality rate for infants.

The Federal Republic of Somalia was under British and Italian occupation until July 1960, when the two countries granted independence to their territories. Shortly after, a government was to be established, but the efforts resulted in a governmental crisis and the president being assassinated in a military coup. Approximately 10 years later, a civil war erupted and divided the country in two opposite groups. During the 1990s and the early 2000s, there were several unsuccessful peace attempts. In 2004, a new transitional parliament was put in place, and eight years later a new constitution was finally drafted and approved. Today, the government tries to gain control over more areas in the country, but major cities are still unsafe due to terrorism, including Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. The absence of security and order in the country gives terrorist groups more opportunities to commit acts of terror, such as the taking of hostages , kidnapping, piracy, and terrorist attacks. Moreover, corruption is rampant in Somalia, which leaves the country in social and economical turmoil.

Despite the fact that Somalia currently lacks effective governance, the state maintains a rather informal economy mainly based on the agrarian sector, which employs the vast majority of the population. In the last couple of years, the GDP growth rate stagnated just under 2.5 percent, and suddenly slumped below 2 percent in 2017 due to a drought that ravaged the country. At the moment, inflation fluctuates quite a lot as a consequence of the social and economic situation, but is estimated to stabilize at around 2.6 percent in the following years. The humanitarian crises, exacerbated by climate conditions, as well as regular terrorism attacks resulted in large displacement of population over the past few years, with many of the Somali people fleeing to neighboring countries or Arabic-speaking countries.

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