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Mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north


Principally desert; northeast monsoon (December to February), moderate temperatures in north and hot in south; southwest monsoon (May to October), torrid in north and hot in the south, irregular rainfall, hot and humid periods (tangambili) between monsoons


Nationality: Somali(s)
Population: 10,428,043 (July 2014 est.)
Languages: Somali (official), Arabic (official, according to the Transitional Federal Charter), Italian, English


Sunni Muslim (Islam) (official, according to the Transitional Federal Charter)


Despite the lack of effective national governance, Somalia maintains an informal economy largely based on livestock, remittance/money transfer companies, and telecommunications. Agriculture is the most important sector with livestock normally accounting for about 40% of GDP and more than 50% of export earnings. Nomads and semi-pastoralists, who are dependent upon livestock for their livelihood, make up a large portion of the population.

Living Conditions

The vast majority (90 percent) of the Somali people live in small villages scattered throughout the rural areas of the country. Few of them have electricity, clean running water, paved roads, or public services. There are two types of rural housing: mundals and aqals . Mundals are permanent structures made of a mud and dung mixture. It is spread over a wooden frame and then topped with a thatched roof. These houses are occupied by a husband and wife, with their children.



US Military Presence/Support

After decades of political upheaval and civil unrest, the U.S. Embassy in Somalia was closed in 1991. Instability continued until the U.S. recognized a new government in 2013. Over the years, America has provided billions of dollars to Somalia for humanitarian, development and security assistance. The U.S. strongly supports ongoing African Union peacekeeping efforts that have targeted al-Shabaab terrorists.





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