Somalia - Economy
Somalia's economy, one of the poorest in the world, is an agricultural one based primarily on livestock and, to a lesser extent, on farming. Livestock accounts for about 40% of GDP and a large percentage of export earnings, mainly from Saudi Arabia; bananas are the main cash crop and account for nearly 50% of export earnings. Other crops produced for domestic consumption are cotton, maize, and sorghum. There are plans to develop the fishing industry. Northern Somalia is the world's largest source of incense and myrrh. There has been little exploitation of mineral resources, which include petroleum, uranium, and natural gas. Since 1990, the economy has been a shambles, the consequence of drought and of protracted civil strife which has left the country without central authority. By early 1992, virtually all trade, industrial and agricultural activities had stopped, large numbers of people were forced from their homes, and more than six million people were at risk of starvation. In 1993, donors pledged $130 million toward Somalia's reconstruction. The aid, together with good rains and increased stability, helped ease the food situation and few communities were at risk of widespread famine in 1997; however, the lack of rains in spring 2001 caused major food shortages in the south of the country. Continued fighting and the lack of a central authority in 2003 prevented significant improvements in economic conditions. The UN through its various relief agencies is the country's largest employer. Although Somalia was largely still in a state of anarchy in 2003, despite ongoing peace talks, the telecommunications sector was functioning, with most major cities having wireless telephone services.