Africa :: Djibouti

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 Afar minority during the 1990s led to a civil war that ended in 2001 with a peace accord between Afar rebels and the Somali Issa-dominated government. In 1999, Djibouti's first multiparty presidential elections resulted in the election of Ismail Omar GUELLEH as president; he was reelected to a second term in 2005 and extended his tenure in office via a constitutional amendment, which allowed him to begin a third term in 2011. Djibouti occupies a strategic geographic location at the intersection of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and serves as an important shipping portal for goods entering and leaving the east African highlands and transshipments between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The government holds longstanding ties to France, which maintains a significant military presence in the country, and has strong ties with the United States. Djibouti hosts several thousand members of US armed services at US-run Camp Lemonnier.

Geography ::Djibouti

    Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, between Eritrea and Somalia
    11 30 N, 43 00 E
    total: 23,200 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 151
    land: 23,180 sq km
    water: 20 sq km
    slightly smaller than Massachusetts
    total: 516 km
    border countries: Eritrea 109 km, Ethiopia 349 km, Somalia 58 km
    314 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    desert; torrid, dry
    coastal plain and plateau separated by central mountains
    lowest point: Lac Assal -155 m
    highest point: Moussa Ali 2,028 m
    potential geothermal power, gold, clay, granite, limestone, marble, salt, diatomite, gypsum, pumice, petroleum
    arable land: 0.09%
    permanent crops: 0%
    other: 99.91% (2011)
    10.12 sq km (2003)
    0.3 cu km (2011)
    total: 0.02 cu km/yr (84%/0%/16%)
    per capita: 24.84 cu m/yr (2000)
    earthquakes; droughts; occasional cyclonic disturbances from the Indian Ocean bring heavy rains and flash floods
    volcanism: experiences limited volcanic activity; Ardoukoba (elev. 298 m) last erupted in 1978; Manda-Inakir, located along the Ethiopian border, is also historically active
    inadequate supplies of potable water; limited arable land; desertification; endangered species
    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
    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 and the saltiest lake in the world

People and Society ::Djibouti

Government ::Djibouti

    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
    name: Djibouti
    geographic coordinates: 11 35 N, 43 09 E
    time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    6 districts (cercles, singular - cercle); Ali Sabieh, Arta, Dikhil, Djibouti, Obock, Tadjourah
    27 June 1977 (from France)
    Independence Day, 27 June (1977)
    approved by referendum 4 September 1992; note - constitution allows for multiple parties
    mixed legal system based primarily on the French civil code (as it existed in 1997), Islamic religious law (in matters of family law and successions), and customary law
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Ismail Omar GUELLEH (since 8 May 1999)
    head of government: Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil MOHAMED (since 1 April 2013)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers responsible to the president
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    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 2011 (next to be held by 2016); prime minister appointed by the president
    election results: Ismail Omar GUELLEH reelected president for a third term; percent of vote - Ismail Omar GUELLEH 80.6%, Mohamed Warsama RAGUEH 19.4%
    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 22 February 2013 (next to be held in 2018)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats - UMP (coalition of parties associated with President Ismail Omar GUELLEH) 49, USN 16
    highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of NA magistrates); Constitutional Council (consists of 6 magistrates)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court magistrates appointed by the president with the advice of the Superior Council of the Magistracy; magistrates appointed for life with retirement at age 65; Constitutional magistrates - 2 appointed by the president, 2 by the president of the National Assembly, and 2 by High Council of the Judiciary; magistrates appointed for 8-year, non-renewable terms
    subordinate courts: High Court of Appeal; 5 Courts of First Instance; customary courts
    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]
    Movement for Development and Liberty or MODEL [Sheikh Guirreh MEIDAL]
    People's Rally for Progress 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
    Union for National Salvation or USN (an umbrella coalition comprising PRD, PDD, MODEL, ARD, and UDJ)
    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
    chief of mission: Ambassador Geeta PASI
    embassy: Lot 350-B, Haramouss, Djibouti
    mailing address: B. P. 185, Djibouti
    telephone: [253] 21 45 30 00
    FAX: [253] 21 45 30 20
    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
    name: "Jabuuti" (Djibouti)

    lyrics/music: Aden ELMI/Abdi ROBLEH
    note: adopted 1977

Economy ::Djibouti

    Djibouti's 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. Three-fourths of Djibouti's inhabitants live in the capital city; the remainder are mostly nomadic herders. Scant rainfall limits crop production to small quantities of 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, exports, and re-exports - primarily of coffee 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% 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. Djibouti holds foreign reserves amounting to less than six months of import coverage. 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. Djibouti in 2012 began construction of a third port to secure its position as a critical transshipment hub in the Horn of Africa and the principal conduit for Ethiopia's trade. Djibouti also received funding in late 2012 for a desalination plant to begin address the severe freshwater shortage affecting Djibouti City, and particularly its poorest residents.
    $2.418 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    $2.307 billion (2011 est.)
    $2.208 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $1.354 billion (2012 est.)
    4.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    4.5% (2011 est.)
    3.5% (2010 est.)
    $2,700 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    $2,700 (2011 est.)
    $2,600 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    13.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    16.1% of GDP (2011 est.)
    34.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 58%
    government consumption: 25.2%
    investment in fixed capital: 31.1%
    exports of goods and services: 39.3%
    imports of goods and services: -54.1%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 3.1%
    industry: 16.9%
    services: 80% (2012 est.)
    fruits, vegetables; goats, sheep, camels, animal hides
    construction, agricultural processing
    4.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    351,700 (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    agriculture: NA%
    industry: NA%
    services: NA%
    59% (2007 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 196
    note: data are for urban areas, 83% in rural areas
    42% (2007 est.)
    lowest 10%: 2.4%
    highest 10%: 30.9% (2002)
    revenues: $465.9 million
    expenditures: $503 million (2012 est.)
    34.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    -2.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    calendar year
    3.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    4.4% (2011 est.)
    10% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    10.61% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $780.7 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    $692.6 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.158 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    $1.008 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $473.1 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    $426.3 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $4.2 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    $33 million (2011 est.)
    $87.1 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    $85 million (2011 est.)
    reexports, hides and skins, coffee (in transit)
    Somalia 78.4%, Egypt 5.3%, UAE 4%, Yemen 4% (2012)
    $579.5 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    $510.6 million (2011 est.)
    foods, beverages, transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum products
    China 24.4%, Saudi Arabia 16.1%, India 10.6%, Indonesia 7.3%, Pakistan 4.1% (2012)
    $772.1 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    $767 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $510.6 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    $410.6 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    Djiboutian francs (DJF) per US dollar -
    177.72 (2012 est.)
    177.72 (2011 est.)
    177.72 (2010 est.)

Energy ::Djibouti

Communications ::Djibouti

    18,400 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    193,000 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    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 and EASSy fiber-optic submarine cable systems providing links to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intelsat - Indian Ocean and 1 Arabsat); Medarabtel regional microwave radio relay telephone network (2009)
    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)
    215 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 200
    25,900 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 185

Transportation ::Djibouti

    13 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    total: 3
    over 3,047 m: 1
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 10
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 7
    under 914 m:
    2 (2013)
    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: 165
    paved: 1,226 km
    unpaved: 1,839 km (2000)
    major seaport(s): Djibouti
    while attacks decreased significantly in 2012, the International Maritime Bureau reports offshore waters in the Gulf of Aden remain a high risk for piracy; the presence of several naval task forces in the Gulf of Aden and additional anti-piracy measures on the part of ship operators, including the use of on-board armed security teams, contributed to the drop in incidents

Military ::Djibouti

Transnational Issues ::Djibouti

    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 moved across the border on Ras Doumera peninsula and occupied Doumera Island with undefined sovereignty in the Red Sea
    refugees (country of origin): 18,725 (Somalia) (2013)
    current situation: Djibouti is a transit, source, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; economic migrants from East Africa en route to Yemen and other Middle East locations are vulnerable to exploitation in Djibouti; some woman and girls may be forced into domestic servitude or prostitution after reaching Djibouti City, the Ethiopian-Djiboutian trucking corridor, or Obock - the main crossing point into Yemen; Djiboutian and foreign children may be forced to beg, to work as domestic servants, or to commit theft and other petty crimes
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Djibouti does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; outside of child prostitution, the government fails to investigate or prosecute any other trafficking offenses, including those allegedly committed by complicit officials; it has made no attempt to implement the protection or prevention components of its anti-trafficking law, and its working group on trafficking was inactive in 2012; a draft national action plan against human trafficking remains incomplete (2013)