Somalia is listed number one of the "failed states" - these are countries which are not able (anymore) to fulfill their basic functions. Since dictator Barre got deposed in 1991, no functioning central government could have been re-established. Now, Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world. The only way to make real profit seems to be piracy. Experts assume that 100 million US$ are being extorted every year, exceeding the government's budget many times over.
In HSFK Standpunkt No. 6/2009 "Piraterie vor Somalia. Staatsverfall, Kriegsökonomie und die internationale Gemeinschaft" (Piracy off the Coast of Somalia: State failure, war economy and the international community) Melanie Zimmer depicts the background of piracy and describes the efforts of the international community within the context of legal and practical problems.