The Somali Republic is a country in the horn of Africa (a peninsula in Northeast Africa). In fact, the easternmost point on mainland Africa, Cape Guadarfui, is found in Somalia. In other words, Somalia is the easternmost country on the African mainland.
Major Problems Facing Somalia Today
Somalia shares borders with the Republic of Yemen (and the Gulf of Aden) to the north, the Republic of Djibouti to the northwest, the Republic of Kenya to the southwest, the Republic of Ethiopia to the west. Somalia also borders the Indian Ocean, east of Ethiopia. The Somali Republic has a total land area of about 637,657sq.km (about 10,320sq.km of which is covered by water). Somalia has a coastline of about 3,025sq.km (the longest coastline in all of Africa). The Somali Republic has a population of about 15 million people with the population growth rate hovering around 1.6%. Just about 37% of Somalia’s population lives in urban areas.
A greater part of Somalia’s population lives in rural areas mainly as poor subsistence farmers who grow crops and rear animals just to feed themselves and their families. Mogadishu the capital of Somalia contains about 2.7 million people. Somalia is an Islam-dominant country with almost all of its population being Sunni Muslims. Somalis (the most populous ethnic group) make up about 85% of the total population.
Bantus and other non-Somalis (including about 30,000 Arabs) make up the remaining 15% of the total population. Somali and Arabic are the two official languages spoken in Somalia today. Somalia has a literacy rate of 37.8% for the total population and 25.8% for the female population. In other words, just about 37.8% of the total population of Somalia above age 15 can read and write. Also, just about 25.8% of Somalia’s female population above age 15 can read and write which is very bad compared to other African countries.
The Illiteracy Level High In Somalia Today
Children of school-going age pick up guns instead of books which explains the extreme poverty, hunger, war, instability, etc. in Somalia today. The poor, especially women and children, are almost always on the run in Somalia due to the numerous conflicts across the country. Quality education which breeds peace and tolerance is something lacking in Somalia today. Poverty and Hunger levels are on the rise in Somalia today and innocent people especially women and children continue to die from extreme poverty and hunger. About 37% of all Somali children under age 5 are underweight according to the World Health Organization.
Although Somalia has a low HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate of 0.7%, about 34,000 people were living with HIV/AIDS in 2009 with about 1600 deaths recorded within the same year. Typhoid fever, dengue fever, malaria, Rift valley fever, Rabies, Schistosomiasis, protozoal and bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, etc. continue to threaten several lives in Somalia today. Because there is no central government to maintain law and order in Somalia, lawlessness is on the rise. Corruption, terrorism, robbery, piracy, etc. are very rampant in Somalia today. In other words, Somalia remains not just one of the poorest but also one of the most violent countries in the world today.
For instance, he convinced the U.S. President Henry Truman in 1948 that U.S. Italian colony in Eritrea be absorbed into Ethiopia.58 The reason that the U.S. Italian trusteeship in Eritrea was that the Italian government was weakened and unstable; therefore, it was easily susceptible to communist and Soviet interference. Emperor Selassie rekindled and reinforced the animosity between Somalia and Ethiopia largely as an act of Cold War opportunism. 60 With American support, his geopolitical ambition of being the relative “superpower” in the region was fulfilled. Then, in 1960, Somalia earned its independence. Understandably, the young nation’s first priority was to acquire military hardware from different sources in order to defend itself from Ethiopian domination in the region. 300. Both neglected the benefit of health and education services for their citizens; rather, they diverted their nation’s resources and foreign aid to their war machines, purchasing sophisticated weapons for use against each other’s people. Somalia’s standing army increased from 16,000 in the 1960s to 54,000 in 1976. Ethiopia was not much better equipped for war. Over the same period, Ethiopia managed with its 40,000-45,000 man army, navy, and air force.
This was, however, before the Marxist-Leninist Mengistu Haile Mariam regime (1975-91), when the army hit 300,000. 61As it turns out, the jostling of the Eisenhower years and 60s was but a prelude. 10 billion worth of arms since World War II, but more than 95 percent of this has come from the Soviet Union after the 1977 Somali-Ethiopian war. 59 Somalia’s interest was always to incorporate the Somali – inhabited Ogaden region of Ethiopia into a Greater Somali. Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Somalia started the senseless war of 1977, responsible for thousands of innocent lives lost and the proliferation of refugees. This conflict was essentially an act of idealism.
Specifically, the Siad Barre government sought to incorporate the Somali inhabited Ogaden region, controlled by Ethiopia, into a Greater Somalia. 2 billion dollars worth of sophisticated weapons thanks to the Eastern bloc. As a result, while the Somali National Army (SNA) was outnumbered by Ethiopian forces by as many as 35,000 men, it had three times the tank forces and a larger air force.