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Poverty in SomaliaFollowing the aftermath of civil war and prolonged conflict, Somalia is now one of the most impoverished nations in the world. This is largely due to the collapse of the Somali Democratic Republic in 1991, an event that divided the country. War waged, killing thousands of native Somalis. Conflict flipped the lives of the Somali people upside down in what seemed like an instant. Many had to flee their homes in order to survive. Today, the poverty rate in Somalia is 73%, leaving most of what is left of the nation poor and struggling to survive.

A Divided Country

Lack of an active central government is a leading cause of poverty. The fractured condition that Somalia is in renders it impossible to put policies in place. Moreover, the region of Somaliland declares itself as an independent country. Somaliland has been fortunate enough to experience more stability than the rest of the country. It has even been able to rebuild much of its infrastructure since 1991. Although internationally recognized as a part of Somalia, the government of Somaliland refuses to attend “peace talks aimed at unifying” the nation. Somaliland acts as an example as to how the division in the nation’s government increases the nation’s poverty as a whole.

Mortality Rate and Poverty

The mortality rate in Somalia is high because of this poverty. About 70% of the Somali population is 30-years-old or younger. The life expectancy rate is roughly 57 years. This low life expectancy is due to a variety of poverty-related causes, such as poor infrastructure, lack of formal access to healthcare and sanitation issues. The havoc that civil war unleashed on the country has resulted in poor infrastructure. Because infrastructure is so poor, access to electricity, clean water and other basic utilities varies from household to household with most lacking one or more.

Somalis are forced to pay for everything by either bartering, working or selling what they have. This process takes a severe toll on their mental and physical health. The lack of health insurance makes treating these resulting health issues nearly impossible for Somalis since most cannot afford private healthcare. This cycle continues and builds upon itself, furthering the state of poverty that Somalia is already facing. Furthermore, there are few jobs available for young Somalis as the nation has remained in shambles from the violence over the past 20 years. The result is 67% of the youth in Somalia being left without jobs or a way to pay for their basic needs.

The Future of Poverty in Somalia

As long as the nation remains divided and people are forced to resort to violence for basic needs such as food and water, the problem of poverty in Somalia will persist. Successful nations that understand how to help must invest more time and money into aiding the people of Somalia. Save the Children Somalia is a successful NGO that works to end child poverty in Somalia by raising money and using it to directly impact the children living within this impoverished nation.

The organization provides health, nutrition, water, sanitation, hygiene, education and food security services to impoverished Somalis. It also communicates with the Somali government to implement better strategies in these areas. By the end of 2017, Save the Children had reached 2,814,381 people, 1,717,809 were Somali children. The organization has different branches for child protection, education and children’s rights.

War and conflict have taken Somalia from a home to a land of poverty and struggle. Since the Civil War, Somalia has been trying to pick up the pieces of a life that once was. With the help of non-profit organizations and efforts, there is hope that one day Somalia can overcome poverty and rise again as a strong nation for its people.

Alexis Page
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Mogadishu
Mogadishu is the capital of Somalia, located in the eastern coast of Africa. This country continues to be challenged with natural disasters along with a lack of political stability and security, which all adds up to the extreme poverty that already affects the country.

After the destruction caused by decades of conflict, a new federal government came to power in Mogadishu according to the guidelines established by the Provisional Constitution in 2012.

The emergence of the new ruling party under this new framework has enabled the country to get international assistance in resolving its ongoing economic and political issues. International relations were further augmented after a peaceful transition of power occurred in 2017 that made the National partnership for Somalia successful, assuring longer-term support from international organizations toward alleviating big issues.

The top 10 facts about poverty in Mogadishu presented in the article below portray the different aspects of the challenges facing the capital such as its historical context, ongoing efforts and the hurdles that the citizens need to overcome to achieve better future of the city.

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Mogadishu

  1. In 2017, Somalia’s GDP decreased to 1.8 percent from 2.4 percent in 2016 despite the new deals of international support. The decrease was mainly caused by the severe drought that occurred in 2017. 
  2. Mogadishu is considered to be one of the fastest urbanizing cities in the world, which is mainly attributed to its improving security, economic potential and urban displacement. The Somalia Economic Update (SEU) showed that 70 percent of Somalia’s aforementioned GDP is urban-based.
  3. Somalia did make efforts to stop the recent famine that occurred in 2017 from being widespread, however, the drought still resulted in large-scale food insecurity that affected more than six million people. 
  4. Given that agriculture is one of the main sectors anchoring the economy of the nation, the fact that the agricultural sector had experienced a near collapse from a widespread shortage of water and pasture along with an increase in livestock mortality, had an insurmountable effect on the overall country’s economy.
  5. The emergence of a new federal government in Mogadishu resulted in the establishment of a fiscal policy that has significantly improved sectors like domestic revenue that grew by 26.5 percent, from $112.7 million in 2016 to $142.6 million in 2017. This increase was driven by trade taxes.
  6. There are around 5,000 young boys living on the streets of Somalia’s capital, a trend that seems to have been increasing over the years mainly due to their parents being too poor to provide for them.
  7. The government does claim its responsibility to look after and create ways to ensure the welfare of the children in the streets. However, there is a lack of funds and a lack of action from the international organizations that made previous promises, according to the government.
  8. One of the main effects of the country’s history of conflict and political insecurity affecting the country’s economy is the destruction of much of the statistical infrastructure and important data. This has created a huge challenge in strategic planning due to the lack of reliable economic and development data. 
  9. Following the identification of the data issue in 2012, between October and November 2014, 20 trained Somali enumerators collected data from 1,500 households, putting together a statistically representative sample that encapsulates both residential neighborhoods and camps that house internally displaced people in Mogadishu.
  10. In order to augment this door-to-door data collection, a high-frequency survey initiative has been launched that aims to bridge the gap of accessibility through the use of a dynamic questionnaire loaded on a smartphone that can collect data on expenditure, price and perception within 60 minutes of interviewing a household.

For many experts in Somalia, the capital’s economic prospects and potential to be a leader of the new economy is a given since it resides by the longest coastline on mainland Africa with a prospering private sector, a population dominated by a young labor force and untapped natural wealth. 

In addition, there is a huge trend in the Somalian diaspora community of returning to Somalia with the much-needed economic force for growth and development. Therefore, producing sustainable solutions for the issues of poverty in Mogadishu and the nation as a whole described above is a worthwhile investment with potentially big returns. 

– Bilen Kassie
Photo: Flickr

Facts About Poverty in Somalia
Located in one of the most poverty-stricken regions in the world, Somalia is one of the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Poverty in Somalia has been an enormous issue for more than a century but has recently been slightly alleviated due to increased foreign aid and government stability. Here are ten key facts about poverty in Somalia.

10 Facts About Poverty in Somalia

  1. Severe droughts and extreme weather make life for people living in poverty in Somalia even more difficult. Historically, food security in the country has been an issue due to limited rainfall and extreme drought. In 2017, nearly six million people in the country were considered acutely food insecure. Around a quarter of a million people have been displaced due to the most recent drought.
  2. Somalia is one of the least developed countries in Africa. Somalia lags behind the rest of Africa when it comes to the availability of basic infrastructure. Only around half of the country’s population has access to fresh drinking water and this number is significantly lower in rural areas.
  3. Poor people who live in rural areas of the country are relatively left behind when it comes to education compared to urban areas. The literacy rate in rural areas drops around 10 percent compared to urban areas. Less access to education in rural areas means a more challenging path out of poverty for poor people.
  4. Four out of five children in Somalia are lacking at least one basic necessity. Around 85 percent of youth in Somalia do not have access to at least one dimension. The more common of which is lack of access to clean drinking water. Another dimension that a substantial amount of children lack is access to information.
  5. Children in Somalia are likely not attending school. Experts believe education is fundamental in giving children a path to escaping poverty. Without education, it is near impossible for children to improve their future. Currently, only half of the country’s youth are receiving and education. This number increases dramatically in rural areas.
  6. The country’s per capita income is around $400. This number is one of the lowest in the region and is a huge reason for poverty in Somalia. Lacking infrastructure in the country affects the number of good jobs and means that most people work on agricultural land.
  7. Somalia’s parliament recently adopted the National Development Plan. The NDP aims to build up the county’s infrastructure and begin to reduce the amount of poverty in Somalia. It also aims to make the country more secure and oust remaining terrorist cells.
  8. Donor grants doubled in 2017 compared to 2016. In 2016, the country received nearly $55.3 million in grants while in 2017 that number grew to over $103.6 million.
  9. About 73 percent of the country lives on less than $2 a day. The percentage of people living on less than $1 a day is around 24 percent, but this number increases to 53 percent in rural areas.
  10. Somalia is one of the worst countries in the world to be a woman. Not only does the country have a terribly high child mortality rate, Somalian women also have limited access to maternal health resources and education.

Although Somalia is still one of the poorest countries in the world, progress is being made to help change the status quo. Increased government stability is leading to improved infrastructure and security. The government is already pushing initiatives that will help mitigate some of these facts about poverty in Somalia. This coupled with an increase in foreign aid dollars flowing into Somalia should bring a brighter future for the struggling country.

– Thomas Fernandez
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Somalia
Twenty years of conflict have led to conditions of abject poverty in Somalia, with the destruction of infrastructure, economy and institutions.

In 1991, the government collapsed, leaving the country fragmented. Even with the establishment of a new government, conflict continues in Southern Somalia, leaving the country in the midst of poverty, famine and recurring violence.

Due to independent governing bodies, two areas, Somaliland and Puntland, experience more stability with regard to socioeconomic conditions.

Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world, with the 2012 Human Development Index putting it among the five least-developed of 170 countries. The poverty rate is currently 73 percent. Seventy percent of the population in Somalia is under the age of 30 and the life expectancy is as low as 55 percent. Unemployment among youth is widespread, as 67 percent of youth are unemployed.

Development is low due to the challenges posed by Somalia’s humanitarian situation and the high level of insecurity, which is another factor contributing to poverty in Somalia. The region is home to more than one million refugees, many of whom are living in conditions of abject poverty. Food prices went up by 300 percent, making it hard for most of the population to buy food. Food insecurity has affected more than two million people. One in eight children under the age of five suffers from malnutrition. Only 42 percent of children go to school. Livestock management is the main source of livelihood.

Poverty in Somalia and Child Mortality

In Somalia, 857,000 people require assistance. In 2014, Somalia was at the bottom of global health rankings in terms of maternal health, child mortality, education and women’s income and political status.

Poverty in Somalia is rooted in civil conflict and limited resources, natural disasters and lack of an active central government. The conflict has emerged between clans for the two basic resources: food and water. The situation has come to political power; whoever is able to claim leadership of a clan can have a share of the limited resources and political power.

Poverty in Somalia has intensified and there exists no easy answer to ending the spiral of conflict and insecurity, which are the roots of the poverty.

Aishwarya Bansal

Photo: Flickr