Somalia formed on 26 June 1960 after its constituent parts became independent from British and Italian administration. After the overthrow of Said Barre's military-led socialist government in 1991, Somalia entered a period of civil war and was without an effective central government for twenty years. Somalia concluded its transitional governance period and peacefully installed a new federal government in September 2012. Under a provisional constitution, the federal government is engaged in negotiations with its regions on a new, representative federal structure before holding general elections in 2016.
Somali security forces, with the assistance of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), have liberated Mogadishu and other cities in southern and central Somalia from the control of the militant group, Al Shabaab. However, Al Shabaab remains a threat and the security situation in Somalia remains unpredictable across much of the country. Somalia's humanitarian situation is precarious, due to a combination of drought and continuing conflict. Australia has provided $15 million in humanitarian and state-building assistance for Somalia in 2014, which builds on our past support of financial and logistical support to AMISOM; support for counter-piracy efforts; and humanitarian and resilience support.
Somalia occupies an important geopolitical position on the Horn of Africa, bridging sub-Saharan Africa and the countries of Arabia and southwestern Asia. Large quantities of Australia's seaborne trade pass through the busy maritime trade routes and shipping lanes of the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia.
Australia's diplomatic representation to Somalia is from the High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya. Somalia has an Honorary Consul resident in Melbourne.
Economic and trade information
- Travel advice for Somalia | See our Travel Information page
- Before you travel: Passports Australia | Visa information | Top 10 travel tips
- Assistance to Australian travellers: Consular Services Charter