Flag of Djibouti

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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 and final 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 is also developing stronger 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.


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

Geographic coordinates:

11 30 N, 43 00 E


total: 23,000 sq km
land: 22,980 sq km
water: 20 sq km

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:

geothermal areas, 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)

Natural hazards:

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

Environment - current issues:

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

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


486,530 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 43.3% (male 105,760/female 105,068)
15-64 years: 53.3% (male 135,119/female 124,367)
65 years and over: 3.3% (male 8,183/female 8,033) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 18.2 years
male: 18.7 years
female: 17.7 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.02% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

39.53 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

19.31 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.02 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 102.44 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 110.07 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 94.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 43.17 years
male: 41.86 years
female: 44.52 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

5.31 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

2.9% (2003 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

9,100 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

690 (2003 est.)

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 (2005)


noun: Djiboutian(s)
adjective: Djiboutian

Ethnic groups:

Somali 60%, Afar 35%, French, Arab, Ethiopian, and Italian 5%


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.)

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Djibouti
conventional short form: Djibouti
former: French Territory of the Afars and Issas, French Somaliland

Government type:




Administrative divisions:

5 districts (cercles, singular - cercle); 'Ali Sabih, Dikhil, Djibouti, Obock, Tadjoura


27 June 1977 (from France)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 27 June (1977)


multiparty constitution approved by referendum 4 September 1992

Legal system:

based on French civil law system, traditional practices, and Islamic law


18 years of age; universal adult

Legislative branch:

unicameral Chamber of Deputies or Chambre des Deputes (65 seats; members elected by popular vote for five-year terms)
elections: last held 10 January 2003 (next to be held January 2008)
election results: percent of vote - RPP 62.2%, FRUD 36.9%; seats - RPP 65, FRUD 0; note - RPP (the ruling party) dominated the election

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court or Cour Supreme

Economy - overview:

The economy is based on service activities connected with the country's strategic location and status as a free trade zone in northeast Africa. Two-thirds of the 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. 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 at least 50% 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% over the last seven years because of recession, civil war, and a high population growth rate (including immigrants and refugees). Faced with a multitude of economic difficulties, the government has fallen in arrears on long-term external debt and has been struggling to meet the stipulations of foreign aid donors.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$619 million (2002 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

3.5% (2002 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$1,300 (2002 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 3.5%
industry: 15.8%
services: 80.7% (2001 est.)

Labor force:

282,000 (2000)

Unemployment rate:

50% (2004 est.)

Population below poverty line:

50% (2001 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

2% (2002 est.)


revenues: $135 million
expenditures: $182 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.)

Agriculture - products:

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


construction, agricultural processing, salt

Industrial production growth rate:

3% (1996 est.)

Electricity - production:

240 million kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

223.2 million kWh (2003)

Oil - consumption:

12,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)


$250 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)

Exports - commodities:

reexports, hides and skins, coffee (in transit)

Exports - partners:

Somalia 63.8%, Yemen 22.6%, Ethiopia 5% (2004)


$987 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)

Imports - commodities:

foods, beverages, transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum products

Imports - partners:

Saudi Arabia 19.7%, India 12.4%, Ethiopia 11.8%, China 8.1%, France 5.6%, US 4.8% (2004)

Debt - external:

$366 million (2002 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$36 million (2001)

Currency (code):

Djiboutian franc (DJF)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

11,100 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

34,500 (2004)

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: microwave radio relay network
international: country code - 253; submarine cable to Jiddah, Suez, Sicily, Marseille, Colombo, and Singapore; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Arabsat; Medarabtel regional microwave radio relay telephone network

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2001)

Television broadcast stations:

1 (2002)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

506 (2005)

Internet users:

9,000 (2005)


13 (2005)

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 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 3 (2005)


total: 100 km (Djibouti segment of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway)
narrow gauge: 100 km 1.000-m gauge
note: railway under joint control of Djibouti and Ethiopia (2004)


total: 2,890 km
paved: 364 km
unpaved: 2,526 km (1999)

Merchant marine:

total: 1 ships (1000 GRT or over) 1,369 GRT/3,030 DWT
by type: cargo 1 (2005)

Ports and terminals:


Military branches:

Djibouti National Army (includes Navy and Air Force)

Disputes - international:

Djibouti maintains economic ties and border accords with "Somaliland" leadership while maintaining some political ties to various factions in Somalia; thousands of Somali refugees await repatriation in UNHCR camps in Djibouti

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country