Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, east of Ethiopia

famine; use of contaminated water contributes to human health problems; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

country comparison to the world: 83
note: this estimate was derived from an official census taken in 1975 by the Somali Government; population counting in Somalia is complicated by the large number of nomads and by refugee movements in response to famine and clan warfare (July 2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 49.63 years
country comparison to the world: 211
male: 47.78 years
female: 51.53 years (2009 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and Rift Valley fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)

Sunni Muslim
Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English
Government type:
no permanent national government; transitional, parliamentary federal government

Legal system:
no national system; a mixture of English common law, Italian law, Islamic sharia, and Somali customary law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

Despite the lack of effective national governance, Somalia has maintained a healthy 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. Livestock, hides, fish, charcoal, and bananas are Somalia's principal exports, while sugar, sorghum, corn, qat, and machined goods are...