Somalia occupies an important geopolitical position on the Horn of Africa, bridging sub-Saharan Africa and the countries of Arabia and southwestern Asia. The busy shipping lanes of the Gulf of Aden, off the northern coast of Somalia, are important to Australian trade. Somalia gained independence in 1960 following the unification of British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland. The official languages are Arabic and Somali.
Somalia is facing one of Africa's most pressing security and humanitarian situations with widespread poverty and large displaced populations. Ongoing challenges include constitutional and democratic reforms, transnational crime, piracy and recurrent climate-induced shocks, particularly drought. Terrorist group Al-Shabaab is based in Somalia.
Australia has supported the state-building and counter-terrorism efforts of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and has provided humanitarian assistance.
Australia's diplomatic representation to Somalia is from the High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya.
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