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State structure

The Transitional Federal Assembly (TFA), established in August 2004, has 275 members. The four clan families Hawiye, Darod, Dir and Rahanweyn each have 61 representatives. The minority groups have been allocated 31 seats. After being sworn in on 22 August 2004, the members of TFA elected Hassan Sheikh Adan (RRA) from among their number as Speaker of Parliament. Due to disputes between the various clans, the TFA is partly based in Mogadishu, partly in Jowhar.

"Somaliland" declared itself an independent state in 1991 and now has a constitution and electoral law. The democratisation process took shape in 2001 with the establishment of political parties. A year later, municipal elections were held in six provinces of Somaliland. This was followed by presidential elections in May 2003, which were won by Dahir Riyale Kahin. The legislature consists of two chambers. Both chambers have 75 members. The first parliamentary elections were held in September 2005, supervised by international observers. The elections were conducted in an orderly, legal and transparent manner and resulted in a parliament in which President Kahin's Democratic United National Party (UDUB) has 33 seats and the main opposition parties Kulmiye (Solidarity Party) and the Justice and Welfare Party (UCID) have 28 and 21 seats respectively. According to Article 5 of the constitution, legislation is based on the shari'a (Islamic law) and is invalid if it conflicts with it. The judiciary is headed by the President of the Supreme Court. This court monitors the application of the constitution. There are no trade unions or other labour organisations in Somaliland.

Puntland does not seek independence, but rather the restoration of a central (federal or otherwise) government in Somalia. Puntland currently has a transitional constitution. Puntland's government is less transparent and effective than Somaliland's. Puntland has no Senate or House of Lords, and political parties are not allowed. Puntland has no Senate or House of Lords, political parties are not allowed and there are no trade unions or other workers' organisations. The 66 members of parliament, including 4 women, were appointed by the clan elders on 30 December 2004. These representatives elected General Mohamud Muse Hirsi Ade as President on 8 January 2005. General Ade's election met with the satisfaction of clan elders in Somaliland. The shari'a is the formal basis for law in Puntland. The structure of the judiciary includes courts, regional courts of appeal and a Supreme Court.

Both Somaliland and Puntland have their own security and police forces. There may also be relative peace and security locally in other parts of Somalia. Somaliland as an independent state is not recognised internationally.

For the current political situation, see History section.


Somalia's economy has always been dependent on agriculture and livestock. This dependence has been exacerbated by the fact that the civil war flattened the already small industrial sector. The agricultural sector provides about 66% of GDP and accounts for more than half of total export earnings (2017). Due to the annual drought, agricultural production is limited to the artificial provinces. Production consists mainly of bananas grown in southern Somalia. These plantations are usually equipped with modern irrigation systems and machinery. The financial transfers from Somali communities abroad are considerable. Somalia has hardly any natural resources at its disposal.

Since the loss of central authority in Somalia, little or no economic figures have been published. Despite all the conflicts, commercial networks between rural and urban areas have continued to function. This is mainly due to the fact that these local networks are relatively easy to protect by armed militias. On the other hand, the (national) infrastructure has been greatly neglected. International food aid has completely changed the commodity market in Mogadishu and other parts of the country. Somaliland and Puntland receive reconstruction aid, mostly through private and UN channels.

There is virtually no formal economic policy in Somalia. Taxes are collected in Somaliland and import and export duties are paid at the port of Berbera. In the rest of the country, taxes are paid to local administrations.

Economic growth in 2017 was 2.3%. GDP per capita is among the lowest in the world. The volume of trade is low. More is imported (mainly from Djibouti and India) than exported (mainly to the United Arab Emirates).


Elmar Landeninformatie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated June 2024
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