Somalia is often referred to as the world’s most fragile state. Despite the recent military success by the government, African Union and Kenyan forces, large parts of the region continue to be under Islamic control. More than two decades of conflict and the absence of a functioning national government have left the country with some of the world’s most depressed development and humanitarian indicators. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, out of a population of approximately 9.3 million, 1.36 million Somalis are internally displaced and more than 43 percent live on under $1 per day. Unemployment in Somalia is above 60 percent. Further, the East Africa famine of 2011, the worst in 60 years, affected 2.3 million people, many of which remain vulnerable today.
After eight years of a largely ineffectual Transitional Federal Government, Somalia’s first formal parliament and president in more than 20 years were inaugurated in September 2012. While political uncertainty prevails, there are glimmers of hope that Somalia will achieve a peaceful political transition that ushers in a period of relative stability.