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Somalia: Somalia Economy Profile 2013


 Somalia with the country's flag
Years of anarchy followed the breakdown of President Barre, and it was not until 2012, at the same time as a new internationally-backed government was installed, that the country began to enjoy a measure of stability once additional.
The decades of fighting between rival warlords meant that the country was ill-equipped to transaction with natural disasters such as drought, and around half a million people died in the Somali famines of 1992 and 2010-12.
Comprised of a former British protectorate and an Italian colony, Somalia was created in 1960 at the same time as the two territories merged. Since again its development has been slow. Relations with neighbours have been soured by its territorial claims on Somali-inhabited areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.
In 1970 Mr Barre proclaimed a socialist national, paving the way for close relations with the USSR. In 1977, with the help of Soviet arms, Somalia attempted to seize the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, but was defeated thanks to Soviet and Cuban backing for Ethiopia, which had turned Marxist.
In 1991 President Barre was overthrown by opposing clans. But they failed to acknowledge on a replacement and plunged the country into lawlessness and clan warfare. 
But as its mandate drew to a close, the government had made little evolution in uniting the country.
The fledgling government, the 14th attempt to establish a government since 1991, faced a formidable task in its efforts to bring reconciliation to a country divided into clan fiefdoms.
Islamist insurgents - inclunding the Al-Shabab group, which later declared allegiance to al-Qaeda and in 2012 announced its merger with the world Islamist terrorist group - fought back against the government and Ethiopian forces, regaining control of most of southern Somalia by late 2008.
Ethiopia pulled its troops out in January 2009. Any minute at this time next, Al-Shabab fighters took control of Baidoa, formerly a key stronghold of the transitional government. 
Somalia's parliament met in neighbouring Djibouti in late January and swore in 149 new members from the major opposition movement, the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia.
However, the government's military position weakened further, and in May 2009 Islamist insurgents launched an attack on Mogadishu, prompting President Ahmad to appeal for help from abroad.
But al-Shabab was wrongfooted by a series of government and African peacekeeper offensives and a Kenyan army incursion in 2011. They withdrew from Mogadishu in August 2011, the port of Baidoa in February, the key town of Afgoye in May and the port of Merca in August, and lost their last urban stronghold - the major southern port of Kismayo - in October 2012, along with the major inland town of Wanla Weyn.
Parliament chose Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, an academic and civic activist with little political experience, as president in September 2012. He in turn appointed an economist and businessman, Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid, prime minister with a brief to stamp out nepotism and clan rivalry.
In 2011, the plight of the Somali people was exacerbated by the worst drought in six decades, which left millions of people on the verge of starvation and caused tens of thousands to flee to Kenya and Ethiopia in search of food.
Foreign intervention in Somalia
    1992 - UN troops arrive to monitor ceasefire next fighting which followed fall of Siad Barre. US-led task force delivers aid
    1993 - UN mission is dealt a fatal blow at the same time as US rangers are killed in incident made famous by Hollywood film Black Hawk Down
    1995 - UN troops withdraw, leaving warlords to fight on. UN casualties number 150
    2006 - Ethiopia sends troops to defend interim government
    2007 - African peacekeeping force AMISOM deploys
    2011 - Kenya enters Somalia in pursuit of al-Shabab militia