Definition of Youth

According to the 2012 UN Human Development Report, there is no one specific age range for youth in Somalia.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • --
  • XX
  • Female
  • 18
  • 16
  • XX

  • No data for marriageable age for males with parental consent. Homosexual acts illegal and punishable by death in southern parts of Somalia. Source: UNSD, UNFPA (2012), ILGA

Candidacy Age

  • Lower House
  • 25
  • Source:  Inter-Parliamentary Union Parliament fully appointed in 2012 elections, as mandated by a UN-backed peace process.

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  Penal Code

Majority Age


No definition.  Source: The African Child Policy Forum (2013)

Voting Age


Parliament fully appointed in 2012 elections, as mandated by a UN-backed peace process.
Source:  Inter-Parliamentary Union

Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • -- Male (15-24) %
  • -- Female (15-24) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • --Male %
  • -- Female %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 15.50% Male (13-15) %
  • 12.30% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Somalia has no current national youth policy. A 2012 youth development report exists.

As described in the 2012 UNDP Human Development Report, Somalia’s on-going conflict from the 1990s has translated in to a vacuum of national policies. While youth policies exist in the autonomous regions of Somaliland (2010) and Puntland (2008), there is no overarching youth policy. Youth programmes are mostly donor-supported, and focus mainly on protection, basic education, and psycho-social work. According to UNDP, “[w]ithout a coherent national policy framework, youth programmes still operate mainly in discrete sectors.” To date, there are no indications of progress the development of a youth policy.

The report includes a Somali Youth Charter, developed by youth groups involved in the production of the report, and seeks to provide a guiding set of principles for the design of youth programmes.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Federal Government of Somalia, first installed in 2012, was the first formal parliament after an eight year Transitional Federal Government (TFG). The BBC describes the parliament as fully appointed according to a formula devised through a UN-backed peace process. As reported by, the January 2014 Cabinet of Ministers included a Minister of Sports and Youth, however little information exists on the functions and responsibility of the ministry. The parliamentary website also lists a sub-committee for youth and sport, however does not include a description.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The 2012 UNDP Human Development Report describes the lack of a national youth council in Somalia. The report recommends the creation of a youth council that could fulfill several purposes, such as: Mobilising, sensitising and organising youth in political activities; Providing a voice for youth to government; Advocating for resources to fund youth programmes.   A Facebook fan page called “Somali National Youth Council” exists, but has not been very active and contains no information that would indicate that it is a formalised youth organisation.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
No budgetary information could be found on youth spending in Somalia. The World Bank does not calculate spending on education as a percentage of government expenditure or GDP for Somalia from 2000.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed May 2014).

Additional Background

From BBC News – Somalia Profile (2013):  
Somalia was without a formal parliament for more than two decades after the overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991.
Years of anarchy followed the downfall of President Barre, and it was not until 2012, when a new internationally-backed government was installed, that the country began to enjoy a measure of stability once more.
The decades of fighting between rival warlords meant that the country was ill-equipped to deal with natural disasters such as drought, and around half a million people died in the Somali famines of 1992 and 2010-12. [...]
In a sign of growing confidence, Somalia's first formal parliament in more than 20 years was sworn in at Mogadishu airport, marking an end to the eight-year transitional period.
Parliament chose Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, an academic and civic activist with little political experience, as president in September 2012. He in turn appointed an economist and businessman, Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid, prime minister with a brief to stamp out nepotism and clan rivalry.
From Somalia Human Development Report 2012: Empowering Youth for Peace and Development (2012):  
The youth population in Somalia will not experience a peak in the foreseeable future due to high fertility rates, estimated at 6.2 births per woman between 2010 and 2015. Over 70 percent of Somalis are under the age of 30; most face blocked transitions to adulthood due to multiple social, economic and political exclusions. These are related to clan and cultural affiliations, gender, age, illiteracy and poverty, among other factors. They have been reinforced by dominant social attitudes and prejudicial cultural practices, and perpetuated by violence. Exclusion limits capabilities and opportunities, and constricts the contributions of youth to peacebuilding and development. It also dampens the natural energy and enthusiasm of youth, and systematically hinders their potential for positive advancement.
According to a survey conducted to prepare this 2012 Somalia Human Development Report, overall unemployment among people aged 15 to 64 is estimated at 54 percent in Somalia, up from 47 percent in 2002. The unemployment rate for youth aged 14 to 29 is 67 percent—one of the highest rates in the world. Females experienced higher unemployment at 74 percent than males at 61 percent. The majority of unpaid family workers were young women who were mostly forced to take traditional occupations due to entrenched traditional gender roles. A higher labour force participation rate for youth, estimated at 66 percent, further reflects lost opportunities for many who might otherwise attend school and acquire skills and education that could raise their future productivity and potential earnings. [...]
The youth survey conducted as part of preparing this report was used to gauge levels of youth frustration. The Youth Frustration Index was calculated as a measure of youth disempowerment. Respondents were asked to rate their opinion on reasons for frustrations on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) [...]. The overall frustration index score in Somalia worked out at 3.96 out of 5, with the highest frustration being observed in south central Somalia at 4.3, compared to the northern zones at 3.7. Across the regions, south central Somalia scored the highest in all predisposing factors for youth restiveness. Youth ranked feelings of humiliation lowest and the lack of employment opportunities highest. A similar ranking was discernible in both Somaliland and Puntland.