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Somalia: Somalia Outlook for 2013-14


The country (Somalia) is situated in Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, east of Ethiopia. It has borders with Djibouti for 58km, Ethiopia for 1600km and Kenya for 682km. Land in Somalia is mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north. Somali land covers an area of 637657 square km²

The climate is principally desert; northeast monsoon (December to February), moderate temperatures in north and very hot in south; southwest monsoon (May to October), torrid in the north and hot in the south, irregular rainfall, hot and humid periods (tangambili) between monsoons.
Somali(s) speak Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English.

Outlook for 2013-14 may 2014

  • The balance of power in south-central Somalia will continue to shift in favour of the federal government as various African troops and forces loyal to the government make further military gains against al-Shabab.
  • This will not put an end to civil conflict, with al‑Shabab regrouping in the Galgala Mountains and continuing to switch to more guerrilla-style tactics.
  • Prospects for stability will be supported by the recent UN-backed transition to a new government, although this does not mark the beginning of a permanent political order, as national elections have been deferred to 2016.
  • The economy will recover gradually, facilitated by improvements in security, although the pace of change will be held back by the lack of a credible lasting political settlement and continued civil conflict.
  • The Somaliland government will continue to seek formal recognition of the region as a sovereign state, but is unlikely to succeed. The region's economy will be supported by remittances and sizeable foreign investment.


  • Military gains against al-Shabab have continued, with troops from the African Union and the Somali and Ethiopian armies taking control of six key towns in February without any resistance from the Islamist militia.
  • Areas nominally under state control have continued to face frequent guerrilla attacks, orchestrated by al-Shabab. In mid-April a series of deadly bomb and gun attacks in the capital, Mogadishu, left at least 30 people dead.
  • The UN Security Council has unanimously voted for a one-year partial lifting of the arms embargo against Somalia, which was imposed in 1992. This has allowed the government to buy light arms to help rebuild the army.
  • Some progress has been made towards implementing federalism, with Puntland and Galmudug agreeing to work with the central government. However, other regional administrations will be harder to convince.
  • The Turkish government hosted a meeting between the presidents of Somalia and Somaliland in April. Despite continued dialogue, an agreement on Somaliland's bid to gain recognition as a sovereign state is a long way off.
  • The IMF has officially recognised the Somali government, ending a 22-year break in relations. This has paved the way for the IMF to offer policy advice to Somalia and for other donors to re-engage with the country.


Military gains made by various African forces, in association with troops loyal to the internationally recognised Transitional Federal Government (TFG), have altered the dynamics of the conflict in south and central Somalia. Military superiority is expected to result in further gains, but the defeat of Somalia's major Islamist militia, al-Shabab, is unlikely in 2012-13. Pro-TFG forces have secured complete control of the capital, Mogadishu, marking a critical juncture for Somalia's dysfunctional institutions and setting the scene for some evolution in completing the "road map" to a new government by August 2012. However, even if amount goes to plan, August will not herald the beginning of a new permanent political order because national elections-always an unlikely prospect given the government's limited authority in the country-have been deferred to June 2016. Evolution towards economic normalisation will be negligible owing to continued civil conflict and the lack of a credible lasting political settlement. This will be exacerbated by the long-term impact of the majority severe drought in recent memory, which has led to livestock deaths, crop failure and famine in parts of Somalia.

The political scene

A period of relative calm has prevailed in Mogadishu since al-Shabab's retreat in August, although the Islamist militia has continued to launch regular attacks from its bases in the Afgoye corridor. Ethiopian troops and pro-TFG fighters have made further gains against al-Shabab in south-central Somalia. The TFG faces the challenging task of establishing viable alternative administrations in the areas vacated by al-Shabab. In early February al-Shabab announced that it had joined forces with al-Qaida. Preparations are under way for talks between the TFG and Somaliland. Various new efforts have been announced to tackle piracy off the Somali cost.

Economic policy and the domestic economy

The recent improvement in security in Mogadishu has sparked a relative economic boom there. Forecasts of insufficient rain have threatened to exacerbate the impact of last year's drought, the worst in decades.

The Somaliland Republic

Armed clashes have occurred between Somaliland forces and militiamen loyal to leaders in the regions of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn after the latter declared the formation of a semi-autonomous national known as Khaatumo. A trust fund is being set up to give the government better control over the allocation of aid. Australia-based Jacka Resources has entered into an agreement with Japan's Petrosoma to acquire a 50% stake in an onshore block in Southern Somaliland. A plan for Turkish Airlines to begin flights to Somaliland has been announced.

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