Somalia Geography and Economy

Somalia, officially Somali Jamhuuriyadda Federaalka Soomaaliya [d ʒ am-], Arabic Jumhuriyyat as-Sumal al-Fidiralijja [-d ʒ um-], German Federal Republic of Somalia, state in Northeast Africa, on the Somali Peninsula with (2018) 15 million residents; The capital is Mogadishu.


Somalia has a monsoonal climate with precipitation from April to October (predominantly southwest monsoon) in the south and winter precipitation (predominantly northeast monsoon) in the north. The annual total of precipitation is low; it is 320-390 mm on the south-east coast, only 50 mm on the north coast; only the higher altitudes receive more precipitation (around 760 mm). The mean temperatures of the warmest months (in the north June to August; in the south March and April) are 36–42 ° C, those of the coolest months are 28–33 ° C.


Somalia is largely a dry savannah in the south and a semi-desert in the north. Gallery forests grow on Juba and Webe Shebele. During the dry season, groundwater can only be dug in the wadis (at a depth of 2–3 m).


The consequences of the civil war can also be felt in the media sector. Journalists face constant persecution and terror.

Press: The print media only play a subordinate role in Somalia. In Mogadishu the newspapers Qaran, Xog-Ogaal, Shabelle Times and Ayaamaha appear in very small print runs; in Puntland »Riyaaq«, »Kaaha Bari« and »Yamayska«.

Broadcasting: The private television stations “Somalia Telemedia Network” (STN) and “HornAfrik TV”, which broadcast from Mogadishu, take over v. a. Contributions from al-Djazira and CNN. The private Somali Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) broadcasts in Puntland. Radio stations are of greater importance. The transitional government operates »Radio Mogadishu«; rival clans founded two stations of the same name. Other stations in Mogadishu are “Radio HornAfrik” (takes over BBC programs, among others), “Radio Banadir”, “Holy Koran Radio” and “Radio Shabele”. In Puntland “Radio Galkayo” and “SBC Radio” are the most important stations.


According to businesscarriers, the nomadic animal husbandry is the economic basis of Somalia. The economic situation has deteriorated drastically as a result of the civil war and the collapse of the state. The gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated at 101 US $ according to UN surveys (2014). The country is dependent on constant international aid, especially with food and medicine.

Foreign trade: The foreign trade balance is consistently negative (import value 2014: 963 million US $, export value: 78 million US $). Mainly live cattle, hides and skins, frankincense, bananas and fish are exported. The most important trading partners are Oman, India and China.


Around 66% of the workforce worked in the agricultural sector, which generates around 60% of the gross domestic product (GDP). Only around 2% of the land is suitable for arable farming, almost 70% of the land area can be used as pastureland. The focus of agriculture is therefore on livestock farming in the form of nomadism. Permanent overgrazing has caused severe erosion damage. The persistent drought in recent years has led to an additional shortage of food for the herds. In the north mainly camels, goats and sheep are kept, in the central and southern regions there are also cattle. While cattle are mainly kept for sale as live cattle and for milk production, sheep and goats are used for meat production, camels as pack animals and for milk production. Herd productivity is very low for both meat and milk. In arable farming, in addition to bananas, sugar cane and cotton in particular are grown for export. Arable farming is concentrated on the irrigated cropland in the river valleys of the Juba and Webe Shebele in the south. The most important crops, especially from smallholder subsistence agriculture, are maize, millet, cassava and vegetables. Somalia is a major exporter of Incense.

Forestry: About a tenth of the country’s area is designated as forest. Almost all of the logging is used as firewood or to produce charcoal.

Fishing: With a coastline of around 3,300 km, Somalia has great fishing opportunities. The main fishing area is between Guardafui and Hafun on the north east coast. There is a permanent threat of piracy on some parts of the coast.

Natural resources

So far, natural resources have hardly been mined. Deposits of crude oil and natural gas, iron ore, tin, copper, gypsum, manganese and uranium ore are known. Sea salt is extracted from Mogadishu.


The industry is underdeveloped; it is mainly limited to the processing of agricultural products: cotton ginning, sugar refineries, fish and meat canning factories, tanneries, shoe factories. There is also a cement factory and a small oil refinery.


Although Somalia has attractive tourist destinations (especially the coast and beaches of the Indian Ocean), tourism does not currently play a role in the country’s economy.


The transport system is insufficiently developed. In the absence of railways, inland transport is almost entirely concentrated on road traffic. The mostly unpaved road network (around 22,100 km) has considerable gaps. The main ports are Mogadishu, Berbera, Kismayo and Boosaaso. The international airport is located west of Mogadishu. There are also around 60 other airports and runways.

Somalia Geography