Somalia lies on the horn of Africa east of Ethiopia and forms part of the North East African Region. The capital city and major port is Mogadishu. Other major towns are Hargeisa and the ports of Berbera and Kismayu. There is an international airport close to Mogadishu and there are domestic airports and airfields in other parts of the country. The national airline, however, no longer functions. Continuing political strife has effectively divided the country into northern and southern regions.
The official language is Somali but English is spoken in the north and Italian and Swahili in the south. As a result of the continuing political instability, the country’s economy has been severely disrupted and reliable economic indicators are unavailable. The local currency is the Somali shilling (SSh). (US$ / SSH – current exchange rate).
Medical services may be very expensive and payment in advance is often required. Medical and other insurance (including the provision for emergency evacuation), an individual risk assessment and vaccinations should be arranged prior to departure. State of health, current immunization status, location, and the local disease situation all affect the possibility of contracting the following diseases: cholera, hepatitis A, malaria, schistosomiasis, tuberculosis, typhoid fever and yellow fever (regional).
The absence of health facilities or medicines forces the need for self-sufficiency in Somalia.
Visas are necessary for all except transit passengers and up-to-date information concerning travel to Somalia, available consular services, visa application requirements, visa costs and temporary residence is available from the Foreign Office or the British Embassy in Ethiopia.
|Population:||8 591 629 (2007)|
|Area:||637 657 Km²|
|Currency:||1 Somali shilling = 100 centesimi|
Somalia is an impoverished country where economic growth has been all but impossible as a result of continued unrest. The violence has hampered international efforts to provide food aid and basic health services and has an negative effect on the country’s investment climate.
The government has been unable to formulate proper economic policies as a result of the unrest and the economy’s reliance on agriculture means that it is especially vulnerable to climatic conditions. Donor support to the country focuses on humanitarian relief and development assistance.