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An uncertain future

Since its development, Somalia has been hindered by territorial claims on Somali-inhabited areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 12:13 IST

Formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic, Somalia is a coastal nation in East Africa. The nation exists solely in a de jure capacity.

The independence of Somaliland from UK was proclaimed on June 26, 1960, and on July 1, 1960, unification of the British and ex-Italian Somali protectorates took place.

Since its development, Somalia has been hindered by territorial claims on Somali-inhabited areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.

It has been without an effective central government since President Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991.

De facto authority resides in the hands of the governments for the unrecognised entities of Somaliland, Puntland, and other rival warlords.

In 2000 clan elders appointed Abdul Kassim Salat Hassan president at a conference in Djibouti. A transitional government was also set up to reconcile warring groups. But, the administration had made little progress in uniting the country.

In 2004, after protracted talks in Kenya, the main warlords and politicians signed a deal to set up a new parliament, which later appointed a president.

The fledgling administration, the 14th attempt to establish a government since 1991, has no civil service or government buildings. It faces a formidable task in bringing reconciliation to a country divided into clan fiefdoms.

After the collapse of the Siad Barre regime in 1991, the north-west part of Somalia unilaterally declared itself the independent Republic of Somaliland.

Years of intermittent civil war has ruined life in Somalia since 1977. It has made Somalia one of the world's poorest and least developed countries.

First Published: Feb 17, 2006 12:12 IST