HUMAN AND ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
East African state. The statistical data relating to the demographic consistency are uncertain, and vary from 10.3 million (United Nations, 2004) to 6.8 million residents. according to the Somalia Watching Brief , a tool used by the World Bank to monitor the socio-economic evolution of countries in conflict or post-conflict situations.
In 1991, after the fall of the regime of M. Siad Barre, the Somalia fell into the abyss of the civil war (see below: History). The conflict has caused more than half a million victims, an estimated number of refugees at 370 – 400,000 (more than 5 % of the population), and has left the country with one of the lowest development rates in the world. In 2002 it was estimated that 43 % of the population had a per capita income of less than $ 1 a day.
According to the World Bank, the annual population growth rate was 3.2 % between 2000 and 2005. Most Somalis remain tied to the kind of nomadic, pastoral or agro-pastoral life. Agro-shepherds and permanent farmers live in villages or small settlements where water is available, while nomadic shepherds make seasonal trips with their livestock in search of water resources and new pastures. It is estimated that 77% of the Somali population lacks access to water with a minimum of hygienic guarantees. Poverty and food uncertainty in rural areas, the situation of general insecurity, aggravated by the tendency towards an uncontrolled urbanization of masses of refugees and extremely poor rural populations, and the aforementioned scarcity of water resources, represent the greatest obstacles on the way. development. For Somalia 2001, please check naturegnosis.com.
The breakdown of the contribution to GDP by sectors of economic activity (2002) sees agriculture and livestock in first place (66.9 %), followed by services (21.1 %) and industry (12 %). The Somalia is chronically plagued by food shortages, a situation that has been aggravated by the civil war and recurring natural disasters (anomalous droughts, floods, livestock epidemics).
The local production of maize and sorghum is not sufficient to satisfy the internal food requirement, which amounts to 500,000 tons per year, and which must be integrated with 200,000 tons imported from abroad. It is estimated that one in five crops will result in partial failure, and one in ten is completely lost. The few existing industries operate at a slow pace in the chemical (in Giohar and Mogadishu), petrochemical (refinery in Mogadishu), textile and tanning (Mogadishu), and food (sugar, oil mills) sectors. The service sector, despite its apparent anarchy, has managed to survive and grow. Efficient telecommunications services and some of the lowest international telephone rates on the continent are available in all major towns.
Exports consist mainly of live animals, meat and skins, mostly destined for Saudi Arabia. Bananas, which were the main export crop (120,000 tons per year before the war), have lost their importance due to the war events, the floods of 1997 and a new regime of importing markets, in particular the European Union. Imports concern petroleum products, food and building materials. Finally, Somalia, heavily indebted to the International Monetary Fund, is forced to rely on remittances from emigrants and on substantial aid from abroad.
The beginning of the new century found the terms of the Somali crisis unchanged in many ways around the main issues that had emerged with the substantial dissolution of the state following the fall of M. Siad Barre in 1991: the escalation of clashes between family clans and the proliferation of armed groups, independence tendencies with the attempt by various territorial enclaves to replace the non-existent state authority with stable administrations, giving life to consolidated realities such as Somaliland and Puntland in the north of the country, or precarious and embryonic, such as Merca, Baidoa or Chisimaio. Furthermore, the affirmation of a political Islam interrupted the neutrality traditionally assumed by the Muslim religion in the country. The latter aspect, especially after the attacks of theSeptember 11, 2001 in New York and Washington, drew international attention to the country, in particular of the United States, which saw it as the possible settlement ground for a fundamentalist Islam. The institutional vacuum in the space offered to the diffusion effects of charitable organizations of Islamic inspiration that helped those in need, while Koranic schools were often the only source of education for the young people (40 % of the Somali population had in the early 21 ° sec. less than 14 years). These factors contributed to the failure of the peace attempt promoted by the Arta Conference (Djibouti) in May 2000, despite the cautious optimism that had characterized its development. In fact, unlike other conferences, which took place in large numbers starting from the second half of the 1990s after the disastrous outcome of the international missions ( Restore Hope and UNOSOM, United Nations Operation in Somalia ), this one involved many forces in the field (with the exception of the representatives of the Somaliland and Puntland and some leaders of the clans and armed factions) and had important international recognition. It was therefore possible to proceed with the constitution of the Transitional National Assembly of the Somalia and its election, on August 26, 2000, of AS Hasan as President of the Republic.
However, the internal fragility of the new authority and its precarious control of the territory emerged very early. The same festive welcome reserved for the new president, who arrived in Mogadishu on 30 August 2000, expressed more the hopes of a population severely tested by the absence of any institution than a real consensus around his figure, moreover immediately questioned by many of those ‘warlords’ who had also contributed to his election. As early as March 2001factions opposed to Hasan set up a Restoration and Reconciliation Council in Ethiopia, while fighting resumed violent throughout the country. In a once again uncertain and confused situation, Somaliland, in May 2001, gave a new Constitution in a referendum which declared its independence, and Puntland saw, in December of the same year, the return to power, with the support of the Ethiopia, by A. Yusuf. On the other hand, the Islamic movements seemed to represent the only element of relative stability in the South of the country, above all thanks to the role progressively assumed by the Islamic Courts that administered the šar ī ̔a guaranteeing minimum levels of civil coexistence. Against this background in January 2004 in Nairobi, thanks to the mediation of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD, including Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Uganda, Somalia) a peace agreement was signed by almost all the warring factions, but not by the Courts Islamic, now increasingly coordinated and active in the territory, and from Somaliland. After tiring negotiations, the Transitional Assembly was formed in August, made up of 275 members (61 exponents for each of the 4 main clans and 31 for all the minor clans) which elected Yusuf president of the Republic in October, not without disagreements.
The latter appointed AM Gedi prime minister in November, but only in May 2005, and after much uncertainty, the government and the Assembly moved to Somalia, first to Giohar and then to Baidoia, preferred to Mogadishu for security reasons. The Assembly met for the first time in February 2006 in the absence of a large group of deputies, testifying that internal tensions were not overcome. Furthermore, the president’s ever closer relationship with Ethiopia gave rise to new and stronger ones even within the government itself. The weakness of the institutions was also evident from the precarious control of the territory, still in the hands of the various clans and their militias. In spring 2006the Islamic Courts, who met in the Union of Islamic Courts headed by HD Aweys, an exponent of Muslim fundamentalism suspected of links with al-Qā̔ida, launched a military campaign which in a few months led them to conquer a substantial part of the country and to gain total control of Mogadishu. The Courts moved effectively in the conquered territories as a whole, appointing local authorities and re-establishing minimum levels of legality and control. In Mogadishu the airport was reopened and the freedom of movement of the population was restored, which had been prevented for years by the division of the city into areas controlled by the various gangs. The introduction of the šar ī ̔a it was endured by the population as a bulwark against the thefts, violence and harassment to which it had been subjected daily. The Union of Islamic Courts represented a composite grouping in which, alongside a fundamentalist component, there were moderate groups and others supported by a very vague religious reference. If the first component presented itself with a political project of reunification of all the Somali populations in the name of the common belonging of faith, and therefore a destabilizing prospect for the whole area (Somalis are present in Kenya and Ethiopia), the moderate one he seemed inclined to find a compromise with the official government. A decisive change in the situation was, in December 2006,military intervention by Ethiopia. At the request of the transitional government, the latter, with ground troops assisted by the aviation, advanced from Baidoia to conquer Mogadishu and Chisimaio, abandoned without a fight by the Courts. In a context of great uncertainty, while the intervention of the African Union (AU, founded in 2002 to replace the OAU, Organization of African Unity ) and the withdrawal of the Ethiopian army, towards which it was winding among the population a feeling of general hostility, the United States carried out several air raids in January 2007 with the aim of hitting al-Qā̔ida bases, causing dozens of civilian deaths.