Djibouti (Africa)

Introduction ::Djibouti


The French Territory of the Afars and the Issas became Djibouti in 1977. Hassan Gouled APTIDON installed an authoritarian one-party state and proceeded to serve as president until 1999. Unrest among the Afars minority during the 1990s led to a civil war that ended in 2001 following the conclusion of a peace accord between Afar rebels and the Issa-dominated government. In 1999, Djibouti's first multi-party presidential elections resulted in the election of Ismail Omar GUELLEH; he was re-elected to a second term in 2005. Djibouti occupies a strategic geographic location at the mouth of the Red Sea and serves as an important transshipment location for goods entering and leaving the east African highlands. The present leadership favors close ties to France, which maintains a significant military presence in the country but also has strong ties with the US. Djibouti hosts the only US military base in sub-Saharan Africa and is a front-line state in the global war on terrorism.

Geography ::Djibouti


Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, between
Eritrea and Somalia

Geographic coordinates:
11 30 N, 43 00 E

Map references:



total: 23,200 sq km country comparison to the world: 150 land: 23,180 sq km

water: 20 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than Massachusetts

Land boundaries:

total: 516 km

border countries: Eritrea 109 km, Ethiopia 349 km, Somalia 58 km


314 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


desert; torrid, dry


coastal plain and plateau separated by central mountains

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Lac Assal -155 m

highest point: Moussa Ali 2,028 m

Natural resources:

potential geothermal power, gold, clay, granite, limestone, marble, salt, diatomite, gypsum, pumice, petroleum

Land use:

arable land: 0.04%

permanent crops: 0%

other: 99.96% (2005)

Irrigated land:

10 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

0.3 cu km (1997)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 0.02 cu km/yr (84%/0%/16%)

per capita: 25 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:

earthquakes; droughts; occasional cyclonic disturbances from the Indian Ocean bring heavy rains and flash floods

volcanism: Djibouti experiences limited volcanic activity; Ardoukoba (elev. 298 m, 978 ft) last erupted in 1978; Manda-Inakir, located along the Ethiopian border, is also historically active

Environment - current issues:

inadequate supplies of potable water; limited arable land; desertification; endangered species

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

strategic location near world's busiest shipping lanes and close to Arabian oilfields; terminus of rail traffic into Ethiopia; mostly wasteland; Lac Assal (Lake Assal) is the lowest point in Africa

People ::Djibouti


740,528 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 162

Age structure:

0-14 years: 36.3% (male 131,878/female 131,449)

15-64 years: 60.4% (male 194,503/female 243,495)

65 years and over: 3.2% (male 10,462/female 12,835) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 21.4 years

male: 19.8 years

female: 22.8 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.181% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 40

Birth rate:

25.58 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 61

Death rate:

8.37 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 92

Net migration rate:

4.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population country comparison to the world: 20


urban population: 87% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 2.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.8 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female

total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 56.65 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 39 male: 64.55 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 48.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 60.73 years country comparison to the world: 186 male: 58.31 years

female: 63.22 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.79 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 75

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

3.1% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 22

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

16,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 83

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

1,100 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 71

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever

vectorborne disease: malaria

note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)


noun: Djiboutian(s)

adjective: Djiboutian

Ethnic groups:

Somali 60%, Afar 35%, other 5% (includes French, Arab, Ethiopian, and Italian)


Muslim 94%, Christian 6%


French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 67.9%

male: 78%

female: 58.4% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 5 years

male: 5 years

female: 4 years (2007)

Education expenditures:

8.7% of GDP (2007) country comparison to the world: 8

Government ::Djibouti

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Djibouti

conventional short form: Djibouti

local long form: Republique de Djibouti/Jumhuriyat Jibuti

local short form: Djibouti/Jibuti

former: French Territory of the Afars and Issas, French Somaliland

Government type:



name: Djibouti

geographic coordinates: 11 35 N, 43 09 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

6 districts (cercles, singular - cercle); Ali Sabieh, Arta, Dikhil, Djibouti, Obock, Tadjourah


27 June 1977 (from France)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 27 June (1977)


approved by referendum 4 September 1992; note - constitution allows for multiparties

Legal system:

based on French civil law system, traditional practices, and Islamic law; accepts ICJ compulsory jurisdiction with reservations


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Ismail Omar GUELLEH (since 8 May 1999)

head of government: Prime Minister Mohamed Dileita DILEITA (since 4 March 2001)

cabinet: Council of Ministers responsible to the president (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; president is eligible to hold office until age 75; election last held on 8 April 2005 (next to be held by April 2011); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: Ismail Omar GUELLEH reelected president; percent of vote - Ismail Omar GUELLEH 100%

Legislative branch:

unicameral Chamber of Deputies or Chambre des Deputes (65 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms); note - constitutional amendments in 2010 provided for the establishment of a senate

elections: last held on 8 February 2008 (next to be held in 2013)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats - UMP (coalition of parties associated with President Ismail Omar GUELLAH) 65

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court or Cour Supreme

Political parties and leaders:

Democratic National Party or PND [ADEN Robleh Awaleh]; Democratic Renewal Party or PRD [Abdillahi HAMARITEH]; Djibouti Development Party or PDD [Mohamed Daoud CHEHEM]; Front pour la Restauration de l'Unite Democratique or FRUD [Ali Mohamed DAOUD]; People's Progress Assembly or RPP [Ismail Omar GUELLEH] (governing party); Peoples Social Democratic Party or PPSD [Moumin Bahdon FARAH]; Republican Alliance for Democracy or ARD [Ahmed YOUSSOUF]; Union for a Presidential Majority or UMP [Mohamed Dileita DILEITA] (a coalition of parties including RPP, FRUD, PND, and PPSD); Union for Democracy and Justice or UDJ

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Union for Presidential Majority UMP (coalition includes RPP, FRUD, PPSD and PND); Union for Democratic Changeover or UAD (opposition coalition includes ARD, MRDD, and UDJ)

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Roble OLHAYE Oudine

chancery: Suite 515, 1156 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

telephone: [1] (202) 331-0270
FAX: [1] (202) 331-0302

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador James C. SWAN

embassy: Plateau du Serpent, Boulevard Marechal Joffre, Djibouti

mailing address: B. P. 185, Djibouti

telephone: [253] 35 39 95
FAX: [253] 35 39 40

Flag description:

two equal horizontal bands of light blue (top) and light green with a white isosceles triangle based on the hoist side bearing a red five-pointed star in the center; blue stands for sea and sky and the Issa Somali people; green symbolizes earth and the Afar people; white represents peace; the red star recalls the struggle for independence and stands for unity

National anthem:

name: "Jabuuti" (Djibouti)

lyrics/music: Aden ELMI/Abdi ROBLEH

note: adopted 1977

Economy ::Djibouti

Economy - overview:

The economy is based on service activities connected with the country's strategic location and status as a free trade zone in the Horn of Africa. Two-thirds of Djibouti's inhabitants live in the capital city; the remainder are mostly nomadic herders. Scanty rainfall limits crop production to fruits and vegetables, and most food must be imported. Djibouti provides services as both a transit port for the region and an international transshipment and refueling center. Imports and exports from landlocked neighbor Ethiopia represent 70% of port activity at Djibouti's container terminal. Djibouti has few natural resources and little industry. The nation is, therefore, heavily dependent on foreign assistance to help support its balance of payments and to finance development projects. An unemployment rate of nearly 60% in urban areas continues to be a major problem. While inflation is not a concern, due to the fixed tie of the Djiboutian franc to the US dollar, the artificially high value of the Djiboutian franc adversely affects Djibouti's balance of payments. Per capita consumption dropped an estimated 35% between 1999 and 2006 because of recession, civil war, and a high population growth rate (including immigrants and refugees). Djibouti has experienced relatively minimal impact from the global economic downturn, but its reliance on diesel-generated electricity and imported food leave average consumers vulnerable to global price shocks.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$2.099 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 183 $2.003 billion (2009 est.)

$1.908 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$1.139 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

4.8% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 63 5% (2009 est.)

5.8% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$2,800 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 170 $2,800 (2009 est.)

$2,700 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 3.2%

industry: 14.9%

services: 81.9% (2006)

Labor force:

351,700 (2007) country comparison to the world: 159

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: NA%

industry: NA%

services: NA%

Unemployment rate:

59% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 194 note: data are for urban areas, 83% in rural areas

Population below poverty line:

42% (2007 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.4%

highest 10%: 30.9% (2002)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

6% (2009 est.) 5% country comparison to the world: 161

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

NA% (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 78 11.56% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$577.8 million (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 156 $462.7 million (31 December 2008)

Stock of broad money:

$940.8 million (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 165 $800.8 million (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$339 million (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 168 $269.9 million (31 December 2008)

Agriculture - products:

fruits, vegetables; goats, sheep, camels, animal hides


construction, agricultural processing

Electricity - production:

280 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 169

Electricity - consumption:

260.4 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 170

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 182

Oil - consumption:

12,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 144

Oil - exports:

19 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 137

Oil - imports:

8,476 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 142

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 187

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 179

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 191

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 66

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 90

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 187

Current account balance:

-$352 million (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 105 -$212 million (2007 est.)


$100 million (2009); $340 million country comparison to the world: 192

Exports - commodities:

reexports, hides and skins, coffee (in transit)

Exports - partners:

Somalia 76.68%, France 4.89%, UAE 4.22% (2009)


$644 million (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 183 $1.555 billion (2006)

Imports - commodities:

foods, beverages, transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum products

Imports - partners:

Saudi Arabia 16.26%, India 16.03%, China 14.26%, US 9.57%, Malaysia 6.63%, Japan 4.74% (2009)

Debt - external:

$428 million (2006) country comparison to the world: 165

Exchange rates:

Djiboutian francs (DJF) per US dollar - 177.71 (2007), 174.75 (2006), 177.72 (2005), 177.72 (2004), 177.72 (2003)

Communications ::Djibouti

Telephones - main lines in use:

16,800 (2009) country comparison to the world: 197

Telephones - mobile cellular:

128,800 (2009) country comparison to the world: 179

Telephone system:

general assessment: telephone facilities in the city of Djibouti are adequate, as are the microwave radio relay connections to outlying areas of the country

domestic: Djibouti Telecom is the sole provider of telecommunications services and utilizes mostly a microwave radio relay network; fiber-optic cable is installed in the capital; rural areas connected via wireless local loop radio systems; mobile cellular coverage is primarily limited to the area in and around Djibouti city

international: country code - 253; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 optical telecommunications submarine cable with links to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intelsat - Indian Ocean and 1 Arabsat); Medarabtel regional microwave radio relay telephone network (2009)

Broadcast media:

maintains restrictions on the licensing and operation of broadcast media; state-owned Radiodiffusion-Television de Djibouti (RTD) operates the sole terrestrial TV station as well as the only 2 domestic radio networks; no private TV or radio stations; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available (2007)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

195 (2010) country comparison to the world: 196

Internet users:

25,900 (2009) country comparison to the world: 184

Transportation ::Djibouti


13 (2010) country comparison to the world: 151

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 3

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 10

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 7

under 914 m: 2 (2010)


total: 100 km (Djibouti segment of the 781 km Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway) country comparison to the world: 126 narrow gauge: 100 km 1.000-m gauge

note: railway is under joint control of Djibouti and Ethiopia but is largely inoperable (2008)


total: 3,065 km country comparison to the world: 164 paved: 1,226 km

unpaved: 1,839 km (2000)

Ports and terminals:


Transportation - note:

the International Maritime Bureau reports offshore waters in the Gulf of Aden are high risk for piracy; numerous vessels, including commercial shipping and pleasure craft, have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; crew, passengers, and cargo are held for ransom

Military ::Djibouti

Military branches:

Djibouti National Army (includes Navy and Air Force)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for voluntary military service; 16-25 years of age for voluntary military training; no conscription (2008)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 165,000

females age 16-49: 213,894 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 110,441

females age 16-49: 147,939 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 8,260

female: 8,503 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

3.8% of GDP (2006) country comparison to the world: 30

Transnational Issues ::Djibouti

Disputes - international:

Djibouti maintains economic ties and border accords with "Somaliland" leadership while maintaining some political ties to various factions in Somalia; Kuwait is chief investor in the 2008 restoration and upgrade of the Ethiopian-Djibouti rail link; in 2008, Eritrean troops move across the border on Ras Doumera peninsula and occupy Doumera Island with undefined sovereignty in the Red Sea

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 8,642 (Somalia) (2007)


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