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Creating a Country Profile for Somalia (Case Study Sample)


The task was to make a country profile of somalia.


Somalia was a part of a former British protectorate and an Italian colony and emerged as an independent state in 1960. However, the state has been in constant turmoil since the civil war broke out in 1991. It is one of the main reasons why it has been classified as a failed state and a part of a 4th world country. Moreover, there are border conflicts with Ethiopia and Kenya due to ethnic issues which were further fueled by the United States and the Soviet Union during the cold war when they staged proxy battles for influence in these states. The greatest challenge it currently faces is a raise in Islamist insurgency and addressing the increasing presence of Al-Qaeda-aligned Al-Shabab insurgents.[Asian Tsunami Disaster Task Force, "The State of the Environment in Somalia," United Nations Environment Programme, December 2005.]
Official name: Federal Republic of Somalia
Capital: Mogadishu
Area: 637,657sq km (246,201 sq. miles)
Population: 15,510,951
Geography: West= Ethiopia
North= Gulf of Aden
Northwest= Djibouti and Somaliland
East= Guardafui Channel and Somali Sea
Southwest= Kenya
Languages: Somalia, Arabic, English, Italian
Religion: Islam
Currency: Somali shilling (SOS)
Ethnic Groups: 85% Somali, 15% others, Arabs, Bantuetc.
Literacy rate: 50% men, 26% women
Government: Federal parliamentary Republic
President: Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed
GDP per total: US$7.405 billion
GDP growth rate: 2.9% (2018)
Importance: Somalia has immense strategic importance. It is located on the Horn of Africa which provides a route for major oil shipment from the Gulf States to states in Asia, Africa, and the United States of America. It owns the second largest coastline in Africa.
Fun facts:
* It is the only state in the world without having a central form of government.
* Camel is the most widely known symbol in Somalia as it is associated with the status of those who own it.
* Lass Geels’ rock art is approximately dated between 9000 and 3000 years B.C. The paintings are considered a natural heritage and are the most fascinating rock art in Africa.
* The Mosque of Islamic Solidarity is the largest in the Horn of Africa. It can accommodate up to 10,000 worshipers.
* ”Xeer” is the customary law of Somalia, which is a polycentric legal system with an absence of legal bodies to interpret the laws.
Environmental threats have become a major reason for concern in the 21st century. Environmental issues transcend boundaries. They can be human-induced or a result of a natural disaster, either way, they have become a threat to the stability of a state. Moreover, it can have adverse effects on living organisms and the environment.
The environmental hazards that exist in Somalia are:-
1 Deforestation: - The excessive cutting of trees at a rate faster than replanting new trees is called deforestation. The major reason for deforestation is obtaining wood and fuel. The study shows that on average 2.5 million trees are cut down in Somalia every year. Since Somalia lacks a modern form of energy, charcoal and firewood are the available sources for energy consumption. Charcoal is used in urban areas and firewood is used in rural areas. According to a rough estimate, they account for 82% of total energy consumption in Somalia.[ANCO-Somalia Team , DISASTER RISK REDUCTION IN SOMALIA 2017, (AFRICA NATURE CONSERVATIO ORGANIZATION ANCO-SOMALIA NGO, 2017).]
1 Charcoal
The driving force behind this rapid deforestation is charcoal which is the cheapest and most affordable form of energy for the vast population of Somalia. The charcoal is produced in the Southern region and 80% of the trees used are Acacia. However, the businessmen of the state have turned it into a profitable business and earning roughly one million US dollars by exporting charcoal trees to the Middle East. This had led to the increase in the price of charcoal in Somalia from 76 US cents to 5 US dollars which is too expensive for the people in the country to afford daily. This has led to a rise in the illegal cutting of trees to fulfill the demands of the population and also to export it through black channels.[ANCO-Somalia Team , DISASTER RISK REDUCTION IN SOMALIA 2017, (AFRICA NATURE CONSERVATIO ORGANIZATION ANCO-SOMALIA NGO, 2017).]
2 Firewood
The nomadic and rural population survives on firewood as the source of energy. Similarly, the cutting of trees is a vital source of income for the people living in rural areas as well. The wood of Yeheb is used for firewood. It is a multipurpose shrub that only grows in the area around the border of Somalia and Ethiopia. The pods and seeds of Yeheb are rich in nutrients and are consumed by the natives and the wild animals. Unfortunately, they are being exploited at a rate faster than they can regrow. Hence they are officially an endangered species as listed by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
2 Land degradation: - Land degradation is a phenomenon accelerated by human activity. It lowers the productivity of the land making it unsuitable for farming. According to the research conducted by SWALIM, the most common type of land degradation in Somalia is the decline of soil moisture, topsoil loss, and loss of vegetation. Central and Northeast areas of Somalia are most affected by the loss of vegetation with a rate of 1.4% per year. Other areas were losing vegetation at the rate of 0.6%. North-west and South Somalia and the area along the coast of the Indian Ocean have experienced most species loss. Furthermore, the topsoil loss has been caused by wind and soil erosion. The wind erosion caused soil loss in the North-Western whereas soil erosion caused soil loss in the North. Thus the land degradation is a result of overgrazing, deforestation, and poor agronomic practices.
3 Water scarcity: -Water scarcity is one of the major environmental threats that the country is facing currently. It is the condition when the water demand exceeds the available amount. Moreover, the water available is contaminated. A recent study shows that majority of the population is deprived of freshwater. Consequently, the cost of freshwater is significantly high and unaffordable for most locals. The cost of 1-liter water is 1,000 Somali shillings which are more than the average pay of the population as the country has a poverty rate of 81.2%.
4 Hazardous waste and illegal dumping: - Any waste that poses a potential or substantial threat to public health or the environment is hazardous waste. Further, the illegal dumping of such waste in poor African states like Somalia is common. The sad reality is that the developed and industrialized states have capitalized on the poor economic and political conditions of Somalia and have dumped their toxic waste materials on their mainland and coastal areas. The study suggests that the Eco-mafia of Italy alone has dumped 35 million tons of hazardous waste in the country. Likewise, Somalia is ill-equipped to manage the toxic waste materials and has become a victim of this threatening waste. Ironically the toxic remains are illegally dumped by developed states which are signatories to international treaties to preserve the environment.[News reporter, "Environmental Hazards Compound Somalia's Crisis - Somalia," Relief Web, last modified June 5, 2003,]
5 Mining and oil exploration: -It is the process of extracting resources like oil, coal, gold, uranium, etc. This process is harmful to the environment as the ecosystem gets disturbed by excessive cutting of trees. Moreover, it can destroy the natural habitat of wild animals. The recent case can be seen in Dharor valley where Puntland has started to drill oil which has caused more environmental destruction than producing economic benefits.
6 Poor waste management: - Somalia lacks a proper and efficient system of waste management. This is the reason why people often dump their garbage on the streets. This is most common in major cities of Somalia. Hence it has polluted the environment and has ruined the natural beauty of the cities.
The major environmental threats to the country are mentioned above. Now we shall discuss the internal and external dimensions of these threats.
Internal Dimension:-
1 Drought: The country has witnessed many droughts which were the outcome of poor environmental conditions like land degradation and deforestation. It results in food shortage and water scarcity. Moreover, it is the core reason for the loss of human and animal life in Somalia every year. In 2017 the drought caused food scarcity and there was a rapid spread of diseases like cholera. The study shows that 1.2 million children were diagnosed to be malnourished due to which 80,000 were forced to drop out of school.[Author, "LAND DEGRADATION IN SOMALIA," Somalia Water and Land Information Management, last modified June 4, 2007,]
2 Floods: -Loss of trees on a wide scale and the process of land degradation like soil erosion along with climate change is a major contributor to the drastic increase in the number of floods in the country. Areas that are severely affected by floods are the Southern region, where the two rivers, the Shabelle and the Juba flow. According to the report published by the ...

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