Somalia

The Broken Country

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Geography

Somalia is located on the eastern tip of Africa, often referred to as the "nose". It is neighbored by Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. The climate in Somalia is hot and dry. Droughts are common, however the country is prone to mass flooding.
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Somalia's Government

Since the late 1980's, Somalia has struggled to maintain a central government. From the 1970's into the early 1990's, Somalia was ruled by a President, named Said Barre. The country at this time was known as the Somali Democratic Republic, however the politics of Barre were more Socialist. During the 1980's, the the Somali government began facing strong resistance from much of the country. From 1988-1990, The Somali Armed Forces began engaging rebel groups, beginning a Civil War that would last for decades. During the war, several different rebel groups have fought one another for control, and eventually, the government collapsed all together. An attempt to replace the government was made in Northern Somalia in 1991, and another in 1998, but with little success. In 1995 UN troops were withdrawn after spending only two and a half years in the country.
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In 2000, a centralized government was formed, known as the Transitional National Government. This form of government proved to be too weak for the country, and it was replaced in 2004 by the Transitional Federal Government. The goal of this government was to regain control of the country so that a new central government could be created. A year following the implementation of the new government, the declining violence bounced back. In response, the new government with help from Ethiopian troops attempted to force radical Islamic groups out of the south, however, they faced strong resistance. The fight against these radicals continues today. In August 2012 the permanent Federal Government of Somalia was established, and is still in control today, despite the ongoing Civil War.

Economic Statistics

Somalia's economy and people have suffered as a result of the war and famine that plagues the country. Here are some facts that show how these things have had an effect on the country,


Somalia's Real GDP per Capita - only 145.06 USD, as opposed to the U.S. Real GDP, which is 53,041.98 USD as of 2013.


Infant Mortality Rate - a staggering 100.14 deaths per 1,000 live births.


Life Expectancy - The average Somali life is less than 55 years long.


Only 49.7% of Somali men are literate, and only 25.8% of Somali women.


Somali's HDI - 55.1

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Culture

Somalia's version of social classes are known as clans. Clans are groups of Somali people who have joined together in the power struggle. The creation of clans has led to the poorer clans becoming increasingly less fortunate. The stronger clans enjoy more food, water, and even better clothes. This clan system has caused Somalia to fall in a constant state if poverty.

So what's being done to help?

Well, to put it simply, a whole lot of nothing. The UN suffered excessive casualties that led to their withdrawal after only assisting for two years. Attempts by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to stimulate the economy in traditional ways have only made the problem worse.

Why does Somalia remain an LDC?

It begins as a side-effect of the clan system. Strong clans restrict the distribution of goods and resources, because they all want the most for themselves. Therefore, the resources provided almost never make it to those who are in need. In addition, rich countries like those in Europe and the U.S. produce the food that goes to Somalia, and these rich countries only act in their own best interest. As a result, food prices have dramatically increased. The most recent increase brought food prices up 300%. Somalia remains an LDC because of the clan system, and also because of the countries that are supposed to be helping.

What should be done to help encourage economic development?

If the Federal Government of Somalia can manage to avoid collapse and somehow bring an end to the Somali Civil War, it should focus on eliminating the clan system, and developing infrastructure. Eliminating the clan structure will boost the economy on it's own, because the poor will have access to much of the same resources as the rich. Unemployment will decrease as industry will begin to expand. Businesses will be created, and companies will be formed. But Somalia has a history of war and political struggles, which means the country has little potential for recovery.