NGO Jobs in Somalia

Country Brief- Somalia

With a population of 7.7 million in 2006, and an income per capita estimated in 2002 to be $226 (compared to $515 in Sub-Saharan Africa), Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world. The UNDP’s Human Development Index ranked Somalia 161 out of 163 countries in 2001. The civil conflict, continuing insecurity in many parts of the country, and poor access to services and infrastructure have made conditions worse than they were before the civil war.

Economic Developments

GDP per capita is estimated to have declined from US$280 in 1989 to US$226 in 2002 as a result of the consequences of the civil conflict. Absent or weak administrative structures provide minimal interference with trade or private sector activities. As a consequence, the private sector has flourished, trading with neighboring and Asian countries, processing agricultural products and manufacturing on a small scale, and providing services previously monopolized or dominated by the public sector. There has been significant (but unmeasured) private investment in commercial ventures, including in trade and marketing, money transfer services, transport, communications, airlines, telecommunications, construction and hotels, education and health, and fishery equipment, largely funded by the large remittances from the diaspora. The remittances, amounting to about $1 billion per year, have partially offset a larger drop in per capita output for Somalia. However, persistent insecurity threatens further growth of the private sector and the absence of provision of key public goods is hurting both rural and urban households and the private sector.

Social Developments

The civil conflict, absence of government, continuing insecurity in many parts of the country, and inadequate access to basic services and infrastructure worsened welfare and poverty compared to pre-civil war times. Extreme poverty (less than $1 PPP) is estimated at 43 percent.  It is 10 percentage points higher for rural and nomadic populations. General poverty (less than $2 PPP) afflicts 73 percent of households, but reaches 80 percent in rural and nomadic populations. Income inequality is significant with the poorest 10 percent of the population receiving only 1.5 percent of total income. 


There have been modest gains in education indicators in recent years, but all are still extremely low. Gross primary school enrollment of 22 percent remains the lowest in the world. One in five Somalis is illiterate. Twice as many boys as girls attend primary and secondary school. Twice as many men as women are literate.


Health indicators are also among the worst in Africa. Life expectancy is 47 years, and under-five and maternal mortality rates are a staggering 156 and 1013 per 100,000 live births, respectively. A majority of the population (71%) does not receive minimum dietary energy. Only 29% of the population has access to an improved water source and 25% to improved sanitation facilities.

Political developments

A Somali National Reconciliation Conference was opened in October 2002. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) sponsored the conference to show international support for a peace-building process. On January 29, 2004, all the key faction leaders signed a declaration on a framework for a five-year transition period.

As part of these efforts, a transitional parliament of 275 members was inaugurated in August 2004. The parliament elected Mr. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed president of the new Somalia Transitional Federal Government (TFG), and a cabinet was nominated in January 2005. The government officially relocated to Somalia on June 2005.

Since June 2005, when the TFG officially relocated to Somalia, it has been unable to exert full control over the territory and has experienced internal tensions to its authority. In June 2006, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) managed to take control of Mogadishu and some strategically important locations from the traditional factions.

The dramatic change in power balance, however, was only temporary. In December 2006, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) aided by Ethiopian troops pushed back the UIC. In January 2007, the TFG President, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, entered Mogadishu for the first time since he became the President in 2004. Public resentment of the continued presence of Ethiopian troops in Somalia created a volatile situation, seriously constraining humanitarian delivery and emergency operations in the centre and south of the country. Meanwhile kidnappings and piracy in the north-east region of Puntland has also led to a deteriorating security situation there.

A National Reconciliation Congress (NRC) conference in Mogadishu in August 2007 produced no breakthrough. In September 2007, some opposition (including UIC members and former TFG Parliamentarians and members of the TFG) held their own conference in Asmara, Eritrea, denouncing the TFG and the NRC and formally established the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS). A national reconciliation process - proposed by the international community led by the U.N., and with the participation of both TFG and ARS - was held in Djibouti in June 2008 towards establishing peace.  An 11 point agreement was signed in August between the TFG and an opposition ARS, calling for "end all acts of armed confrontation" within 30 days, and withdrawal of Ethiopian troops within 120 days after a UN peacekeeping force is deployed. The two sides continue to meet under this Djibouti Agreement with progress being reported on all matters under the Agreement.


An escalation of armed hostilities and kidnappings in South Central Somalia and Puntland resulted in the UN relocating staff from Mogadishu and other locations and to raise the security level in Mogadishu to Phase V. In addition, piracy of vessels has increased dramatically in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean off the coast of Puntland The EU, USA and other countries have committed to provide vessels to combat piracy in 2008 to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Source - World Bank

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