After the state collapse in 1991, all normal economic
activities have been impossible. Livestock and agriculture
are the basis of the economy, but there is also some
industrial activity. The telecom industry is successful in
the country. A provisional fuel distribution system from
northern Somalia has operated under a strong armed private
surveillance. The export of live cattle, hides and skins has
recovered somewhat, but it is also under the control of
various armed groups. An important element of the economy
has become payments from exile Somalis, but also from the
UN, the Red Cross and various NGOs, which require guarded
protection to function. Statistics, if any, are unreliable.
No data on GDP is available. Agriculture is estimated to
account for 60 percent of GDP and employ about 70 percent of
COUNTRYAAH, about 70 per cent of Somalia's population directly or
indirectly receive their livelihood from the nomadic
livestock management of camels, sheep, goats and the cattle
in the southern regions. The most important product is milk,
especially the nutritious camel milk, which is a staple food
in the middle and northern parts of the country. Exports of
live animals, hides and skins to Arab countries have at
times accounted for 80 percent of export revenue, but an
import ban on live livestock from Somalia due to a fever
disease prevailed for a few years in the early 00s.
Agriculture in general is a self-sustaining farm with maize,
sorghum and cassava as the most important growing plants.
Both agriculture and livestock management are constantly
threatened by recurring dry periods.
The most important among the salad crops are sugar cane,
grapefruit and bananas. Bananas are mainly exported to
Until the 1970s, fishing was a much-neglected sector. In
connection with the severe dry years of 1974 and 1975,
12,000 former nomads settled in 21 fishing cooperatives, and
development of fisheries was given top priority. The civil
war in the 1990s destroyed much of the fishing industry that
was built up, but several cooperatives have resumed
operations during the 1990s. In 2009, the total fish catch
was 30,000 tonnes; The most important was the catch of tuna
and lobster. Without functioning coastguard, Somalia's
territorial waters are severely affected by illegal fishing
by vessels from other countries.
Minerals and energy
Somalia has found deposits of gold, silver, copper,
manganese, uranium and tungsten. One of the world's largest
plaster deposits is found near Berbera. However, the safety
situation prevents the mining industry from developing.
Extensive oil exploration has not resulted in any
significant discoveries, and the oil and natural gas
believed to have not been recovered. The country's
electricity supply comes mainly from privately owned
diesel-powered generators. About 60 percent of Somalia is
covered by tree water that supplies firewood for rural areas
and charcoal for cities. Charcoal is also exported to Kenya,
which exacerbates the problem of deforestation. A conflict
between charcoal burners and nomads over the right to the
savannah's resources has contributed to the armed conflicts
in the country.
Most of Somalia's industry is small-scale and
agricultural-based, such as the textile and leather
industry, as well as sugar production and preservation of
meat and fish. Plastic bags, soaps and detergents are also
manufactured. In 2004, a factory for the production of soft
drinks (Coca-Cola ®) was opened in Mogadishu. Two
years later, the factory was closed, but reopened in 2012.
Cement and gypsum production have also been resumed.
Somalia's most important export products are live cattle,
hides, skins, mainly to the Arab countries, and bananas.
Collecting and exporting raw materials for myrrh and incense
is of local importance in northern Somalia. The most
important import products are manufacturing, transport, food
and oil. Weapons are also imported on a large scale, despite
the UN arms embargo. Exports are mainly to the United Arab
Emirates, Yemen and Oman. Most of the imports come from
Djibouti, but Kenya, Pakistan and China are also major
importing countries. The trade balance has been very
negative throughout the period of independence.