flag Somalia Somalia: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Somalia is open to foreign trade, which accounts for 100% of its GDP (World Bank, 2020). Commerce is in the hands of local merchants, who manage their activities and transactions despite the anarchic security situation. A large part of the population remains outside the formal commercial sector. The customs administration is still weak, and the national tariff that is currently in force is not based on the Harmonized System (HS). The factors limiting foreign trade are the poor quality of road and port infrastructure, as well as high levels of insecurity and piracy. Somalia’s exports mainly include gold (37.42% of total exports), live sheep, goats and cattle (23.46%), fish and crustaceans (9.12%), resins gums (9.05%), oil seeds and oleaginous fruits (7.64%) and fruits. The country mainly imports tobacco (13.73% of total imports), vegetables (7.18%), machinery (7.13%), sugar (6.57%), cereals (5.51%), vehicles (3.77%), ferrous and food products (ITC, 2020).

In 2020, Somalia mainly exported to Japan, China, Egypt, India and Turkey (UNCTAD). Somalia's main suppliers are the United Arab Emirates, China, India, Turkey, Kenya the United States and Malaysia (ITC, 2019).

Somalia's trade balance is structurally in deficit. In 2020, the country exported goods valued at USD 360 million and imported USD 1.17 billion, registering a deficit of USD 810 million (UNCTAD's estimates). Imports of goods and services represented 105% GDP, against 14% GDP for the exports (World Bank, 2020). Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, global trade volumes decreased sharply. In addition, Somalia's exports were hurt by the bans on livestock exports imposed by the Gulf countries.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 125125132134120
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 100103109111105
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 2522242314

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

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Latest Update: May 2022

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