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Somalia Economy Profile 2019

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Economy - overview

Despite the lack of effective national governance, Somalia maintains an informal economy largely based on livestock, remittance/money transfer companies, and telecommunications. Somalia's government lacks the ability to collect domestic revenue and external debt – mostly in arrears – was estimated at about 77% of GDP in 2017.

Agriculture is the most important sector, with livestock normally accounting for about 40% of GDP and more than 50% of export earnings. Nomads and semi-pastoralists, who are dependent upon livestock for their livelihood, make up a large portion of the population. Economic activity is estimated to have increased by 2.4% in 2017 because of growth in the agriculture, construction and telecommunications sector. Somalia's small industrial sector, based on the processing of agricultural products, has largely been looted and the machinery sold as scrap metal.

In recent years, Somalia's capital city, Mogadishu, has witnessed the development of the city's first gas stations, supermarkets, and airline flights to Turkey since the collapse of central authority in 1991. Mogadishu's main market offers a variety of goods from food to electronic gadgets. Hotels continue to operate and are supported with private-security militias. Formalized economic growth has yet to expand outside of Mogadishu and a few regional capitals, and within the city, security concerns dominate business. Telecommunication firms provide wireless services in most major cities and offer the lowest international call rates on the continent. In the absence of a formal banking sector, money transfer/remittance services have sprouted throughout the country, handling up to $1.6 billion in remittances annually, although international concerns over the money transfers into Somalia continues to threaten these services’ ability to operate in Western nations. In 2017, Somalia elected a new president and collected a record amount of foreign aid and investment, a positive sign for economic recovery.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$20.44 billion (2017 est.)
$19.98 billion (2016 est.)
$19.14 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2016 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)
$7.052 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
2.3% (2017 est.)
4.4% (2016 est.)
3.9% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$NA (2017)
$NA (2016)
$NA (2015)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 72.6% (2015 est.)
government consumption: 8.7% (2015 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 20% (2015 est.)
investment in inventories: 0.8% (2016 est.)
exports of goods and services: 0.3% (2015 est.)
imports of goods and services: -1.6% (2015 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 60.2% (2013 est.)
industry: 7.4% (2013 est.)
services: 32.5% (2013 est.)
Population below poverty line
Labor force
4.154 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 71%
industry: 29%
industry and services: 29% (1975)
Unemployment rate


Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
revenues: 145.3 million (2014 est.)
expenditures: 151.1 million (2014 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
2.1% (of GDP) (2014 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-0.1% (of GDP) (2014 est.)
Public debt
76.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
93% of GDP (2014 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
1.5% (2017 est.)
-71.1% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate


Commercial bank prime lending rate


Agriculture - products
bananas, sorghum, corn, coconuts, rice, sugarcane, mangoes, sesame seeds, beans; cattle, sheep, goats; fish
light industries, including sugar refining, textiles, wireless communication
Industrial production growth rate
3.5% (2014 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$464 million (2017 est.)
-$427 million (2016 est.)
$819 million (2014 est.)
$779 million (2013 est.)
Exports - commodities
livestock, bananas, hides, fish, charcoal, scrap metal
Exports - partners
Oman 31.7%, Saudi Arabia 18.7%, UAE 16.3%, Nigeria 5.1%, Yemen 4.8%, Pakistan 4% (2017)
$94.43 billion (2018 est.)
$80.07 billion (2017 est.)
Imports - commodities
manufactures, petroleum products, foodstuffs, construction materials, qat
Imports - partners
China 17.6%, India 17.2%, Ethiopia 10.5%, Oman 10.3%, Kenya 6.9%, Turkey 5.3%, Malaysia 4.1% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$30.45 million (2014 est.)
Debt - external
$5.3 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home


Exchange rates
Somali shillings (SOS) per US dollar -
23,960 (2016 est.)
Fiscal year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on December 7, 2019

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