Lake Abbe, also known as Lake Abhe Bad, is a salt lake on the border of Ethiopia and Djibouti. Lake Abbe is the center of the Afar Depression and is largely inaccessible. Stretching for 10 km (6 mi) it comprises a vast landscape of salt flats, covered in clusters of massive, steam-blasting limestone chimneys. Other than Mount Dama Ali, a small dormant volcano, the landscape is almost completely level.
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The present-day boundaries of Djibouti were established during the Scramble for Africa, a period between 1881 – 1914 that was characterized by the invasion, occupation, division, and colonization of most of Africa by seven Western European nations. Treaties signed by the Afar sultans with the French allowed the latter to establish the colony of French Somaliland in 1862. The French signed additional treaties with the ethnic Somali in 1885.

Tension between the ethnic Afar and Somali populations increased during this time, as the ethnic Somali perceived that the French unfairly favored the Afar and gave them disproportionate influence in local governance and in a series of referendums leading up to Djibouti’s eventual independence in 1977. In 1958, the French held the referendum that provided residents of French Somaliland the option to either continue its association with France or to join neighboring Somalia as it established its independence.  The ethnic Somali protested the vote, because French colonial leaders did not recognize many Somali as residents, which gave the Afar outsized influence in the decision to uphold ties with France. After the second referendum in 1967, the French changed the territory’s name to the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas, in part to underscore their relationship with the ethnic Afar and downplay the significance of the ethnic Somali.  The final referendum in 1977 established Djibouti as an independent nation and granted ethnic Somalis Djiboutian nationality, formally resetting the balance of power between the majority ethnic Somali and minority ethnic Afar residents.  Upon independence, the country was named after its capital city of Djibouti. Hassan Gouled APTIDON, an ethnic Somali leader, installed an authoritarian one-party state and proceeded to serve as president until 1999. Unrest between the Afar minority and Somali majority culminated in a civil war during the 1990s that ended in 2001 with a peace accord between Afar rebels and the Somali Issa-dominated government. In 1999, Djibouti's first multiparty presidential election 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 serve his third and fourth terms, and begin a fifth term in 2021. Djibouti occupies a strategic geographic location at the intersection of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Its ports handle 95% of Ethiopia’s trade. Djibouti’s ports also service transshipments between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The government holds longstanding ties to France, which maintains a military presence in the country, as does the US, Japan, Italy, Germany, Spain, and China.

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

Geographic coordinates

11 30 N, 43 00 E


total: 23,200 sq km

land: 23,180 sq km

water: 20 sq km

country comparison to the world: 150

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than New Jersey

<p>slightly smaller than New Jersey</p>

Land boundaries

total: 528 km

border countries (3): Eritrea 125 km, Ethiopia 342 km, Somalia 61 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


highest point: Moussa Ali 2,021 m

lowest point: Lac Assal -155 m

mean elevation: 430 m

Natural resources

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

Land use

agricultural land: 73.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 73.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 0.2% (2018 est.)

other: 26.4% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

10 sq km (2012)

Major lakes (area sq km)

Salt water lake(s): Abhe Bad/Abhe Bid Hayk (shared with Ethiopia) - 780 sq km

Population distribution

most densely populated areas are in the east; the largest city is Djibouti, with a population over 600,000; no other city in the country has a total population over 50,000 as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

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

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

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 and the saltiest lake in the world

People and Society


noun: Djiboutian(s)

adjective: Djiboutian

Ethnic groups

Somali 60%, Afar 35%, other 5% (mostly Yemeni Arab, also French, Ethiopian, and Italian)


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


Sunni Muslim 94% (nearly all Djiboutians), other 6% (mainly foreign-born residents - Shia Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Baha'i, and atheist)

Demographic profile

Djibouti is a poor, predominantly urban country, characterized by high rates of illiteracy, unemployment, and childhood malnutrition. More than 75% of the population lives in cities and towns (predominantly in the capital, Djibouti). The rural population subsists primarily on nomadic herding. Prone to droughts and floods, the country has few natural resources and must import more than 80% of its food from neighboring countries or Europe. Health care, particularly outside the capital, is limited by poor infrastructure, shortages of equipment and supplies, and a lack of qualified personnel. More than a third of health care recipients are migrants because the services are still better than those available in their neighboring home countries. The nearly universal practice of female genital cutting reflects Djibouti’s lack of gender equality and is a major contributor to obstetrical complications and its high rates of maternal and infant mortality. A 1995 law prohibiting the practice has never been enforced.

Because of its political stability and its strategic location at the confluence of East Africa and the Gulf States along the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, Djibouti is a key transit point for migrants and asylum seekers heading for the Gulf States and beyond. Each year some hundred thousand people, mainly Ethiopians and some Somalis, journey through Djibouti, usually to the port of Obock, to attempt a dangerous sea crossing to Yemen. However, with the escalation of the ongoing Yemen conflict, Yemenis began fleeing to Djibouti in March 2015, with almost 20,000 arriving by August 2017. Most Yemenis remain unregistered and head for Djibouti City rather than seeking asylum at one of Djibouti’s three spartan refugee camps. Djibouti has been hosting refugees and asylum seekers, predominantly Somalis and lesser numbers of Ethiopians and Eritreans, at camps for 20 years, despite lacking potable water, food shortages, and unemployment.

Age structure

0-14 years: 29.97% (male 138,701/female 137,588)

15-24 years: 20.32% (male 88,399/female 98,955)

25-54 years: 40.73% (male 156,016/female 219,406)

55-64 years: 5.01% (male 19,868/female 26,307)

65 years and over: 3.97% (male 16,245/female 20,319) (2020 est.)

This is the population pyramid for Djibouti. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 50.6

youth dependency ratio: 43.6

elderly dependency ratio: 7.1

potential support ratio: 14.1 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 24.9 years

male: 23 years

female: 26.4 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 163

Birth rate

22.43 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 60

Death rate

7.17 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 110

Net migration rate

4.81 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 24

Population distribution

most densely populated areas are in the east; the largest city is Djibouti, with a population over 600,000; no other city in the country has a total population over 50,000 as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 78.2% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.56% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

584,000 DJIBOUTI (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.89 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.71 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.76 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female

total population: 0.83 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

248 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 43

Infant mortality rate

total: 47.78 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 55.17 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 40.16 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 27

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 65 years

male: 62.4 years

female: 67.67 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 203

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99.3% of population

rural: 59.1% of population

total: 90.3% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.7% of population

rural: 40.9% of population

total: 9.7% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

0.22 physicians/1,000 population (2014)

Hospital bed density

1.4 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 84% of population

rural: 21.5% of population

total: 70.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 16% of population

rural: 78.5% of population

total: 29.9% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<500 (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

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

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 7 years

male: 7 years

female: 7 years (2011)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 73%

male: 72%

female: 74.6% (2017)


Environment - current issues

inadequate supplies of potable water; water pollution; limited arable land; deforestation (forests threatened by agriculture and the use of wood for fuel); desertification; endangered species

Environment - international agreements

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

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 40.38 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.62 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.52 megatons (2020 est.)


desert; torrid, dry

Land use

agricultural land: 73.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 73.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 0.2% (2018 est.)

other: 26.4% (2018 est.)


urban population: 78.2% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.56% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 89

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

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

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever

Food insecurity

widespread lack of access: due to floods - about 194,000 people were estimated to be severely food insecure in the January‑August 2021 period, mainly due to livelihood losses caused by floods and landslides, and as a result of the socio‑economic impact of the pandemic on the livelihoods of vulnerable households; Cyclone Sagar struck the country on 19 and 20 May 2021, bringing torrential rains; the precipitation received, about 110 mm, was the equivalent of the average rainfall for an entire year and triggered heavy flooding, especially in the capital, Djibouti City and surrounding areas (2021)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 114,997 tons (2002 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

Salt water lake(s): Abhe Bad/Abhe Bid Hayk (shared with Ethiopia) - 780 sq km

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 16 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 0 cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 3 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

300 million cubic meters (2017 est.)


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 Somaliland, French Territory of the Afars and Issas

etymology: the country name derives from the capital city of Djibouti

Government type

presidential republic


name: Djibouti

geographic coordinates: 11 35 N, 43 09 E

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

etymology: the origin of the name is disputed; multiple descriptions, possibilities, and theories have been proposed

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)


history: approved by referendum 4 September 1992

amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or by the National Assembly; Assembly consideration of proposals requires assent at least one third of the membership; passage requires a simple majority vote by the Assembly and approval by simple majority vote in a referendum; the president can opt to bypass a referendum if adopted by at least two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly; constitutional articles on the sovereignty of Djibouti, its republican form of government, and its pluralist form of democracy cannot by amended; amended 2006, 2008, 2010

Legal system

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

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the mother must be a citizen of Djibouti

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

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 appointed by the prime minister

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term; election last held on 9 April 2021 (next to be held in April 2026); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: Ismail Omar GUELLEH reelected president for a fifth term; percent of vote - Ismail Omar GUELLEH (RPP) 97.4%, Zakaria Ismael FARAH (MDEND) 2.7%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale, formerly the Chamber of Deputies (65 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by party-list proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 23 February 2018 (next to be held in February 2023)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 57, UDJ-PDD 7, CDU 1; composition - men 47, women 18, percent of women 26.7%

Judicial branch

highest courts: 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 CSM, a 10-member body consisting of 4 judges, 3 members (non parliamentarians and judges) appointed by the president, and 3 appointed by the National Assembly president or speaker; magistrates appointed for life with retirement at age 65; Constitutional Council magistrate appointments - 2 by the president of the republic, 2 by the president of the National Assembly, and 2 by the CSM; magistrates appointed for 8-year, non-renewable terms

subordinate courts: High Court of Appeal; 5 Courts of First Instance; customary courts; State Court (replaced sharia courts in 2003)

Political parties and leaders

Center for United Democrats or CDU [Ahmed Mohamed YOUSSOUF, chairman]
Democratic Renewal Party or PRD [Abdillahi HAMARITEH]
Djibouti Development Party or PDD [Mohamed Daoud CHEHEM]
Front for Restoration of Unity and Democracy (Front pour la Restauration de l'Unite Democratique) or FRUD [Ali Mohamed DAOUD]
Movement for Democratic Renewal and Development [Daher Ahmed FARAH]
Movement for Development and Liberty or MoDel [Ismail Ahmed WABERI]
Movement for the Development and Balance of the Djiboutian Nation (Mouvement pour le Dévelopment et l'Équilibre de la Nation Djiboutienne) or MDEND [Zakaria Ismael FARAH]
National Democratic Party or PND [Aden Robleh AWALEH]
People's Rally for Progress or RPP [Ismail Omar GUELLEH] (governing party)
Peoples Social Democratic Party or PPSD [Hasna Moumin BAHDON]
Republican Alliance for Democracy or ARD [Aden Mohamed ABDOU, interim president]
Union for a Presidential Majority or UMP (coalition includes RPP, FRUD, PND, PPSD)
Union for Democracy and Justice or UDJ [Ilya Ismail GUEDI Hared]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Mohamed Siad DOUALEH (28 January 2016)

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

telephone: [1] (202) 331-0270

FAX: [1] (202) 331-0302

email address and website:

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Jonathan Goodale PRATT (since 22 February 2021)

embassy: Lot 350-B Haramouss, B.P. 185

mailing address: 2150 Djibouti Place, Washington DC  20521-2150

telephone: [253] 21-45-30-00

FAX: [253] 21-45-31-29

email address and website:

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 symbol(s)

red star; national colors: light blue, green, white, red

National anthem

name: "Jabuuti" (Djibouti)

lyrics/music: Aden ELMI/Abdi ROBLEH

note: adopted 1977


Economic overview

Djibouti's economy is based on service activities connected with the country's strategic location as a deepwater port on the Red Sea. Three-fourths of Djibouti's inhabitants live in the capital city; the remainder are mostly nomadic herders. Scant rainfall and less than 4% arable land 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 reexports represent 70% of port activity at Djibouti's container terminal. Reexports consist primarily of coffee from landlocked neighbor Ethiopia. Djibouti has few natural resources and little industry. The nation is, therefore, heavily dependent on foreign assistance to support its balance of payments and to finance development projects. An official unemployment rate of nearly 40% - with youth unemployment near 80% - continues to be a major problem. Inflation was a modest 3% in 2014-2017, due to low international food prices and a decline in electricity tariffs.

Djibouti’s reliance on diesel-generated electricity and imported food and water leave average consumers vulnerable to global price shocks, though in mid-2015 Djibouti passed new legislation to liberalize the energy sector. The government has emphasized infrastructure development for transportation and energy and Djibouti – with the help of foreign partners, particularly China – has begun to increase and modernize its port capacity. In 2017, Djibouti opened two of the largest projects in its history, the Doraleh Port and Djibouti-Addis Ababa Railway, funded by China as part of the "Belt and Road Initiative," which will increase the country’s ability to capitalize on its strategic location.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$5.42 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$5.39 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$5 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 174

Real GDP growth rate

6.7% (2017 est.)

6.5% (2016 est.)

6.5% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

Real GDP per capita

$5,500 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$5,500 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$5,200 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 167

GDP (official exchange rate)

$3.323 billion (2019 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.4% (2017 est.)

industry: 17.3% (2017 est.)

services: 80.2% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 56.5% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 29.2% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 41.8% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.3% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 38.6% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -66.4% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

vegetables, milk, beef, camel milk, lemons, limes, goat meat, mutton, beans, tomatoes


construction, agricultural processing, shipping

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: NA

industry: NA

services: NA

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.4%

highest 10%: 30.9% (2002)


revenues: 717 million (2017 est.)

expenditures: 899.2 million (2017 est.)

Public debt

31.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

33.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 161

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$280 million (2017 est.)

-$178 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 105


$5.15 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$4.56 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 126

Exports - partners

Saudi Arabia 42%, India 15%, China 14%, Egypt 5%, South Korea 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

various animals, chlorides, dried legumes, industrial fatty acids/oils, coffee, chickpeas (2019)


$4.76 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$4.19 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 141

Imports - partners

China 43%, United Arab Emirates 15%, India 7%, Turkey 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, fertilizers, iron sheeting, cars, palm oil (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$547.7 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$398.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 148

Debt - external

$1.954 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$1.519 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 153

Exchange rates

Djiboutian francs (DJF) per US dollar -

177.7 (2017 est.)

177.72 (2016 est.)

177.72 (2015 est.)

177.72 (2014 est.)

177.72 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 42% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 54% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 1% (2019)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

100% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 38,866 (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3.93 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 164

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 434,035 (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 43.93 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 175

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Djibouti has a poor domestic infrastructure and a monopolized telecom system relying on microwave radio relay; rural areas connected via wireless local loop; mobile coverage limited to Djibouti city; despite challenges, foreign investment lends progress toward improvements; one of the best international fiber cables in the region, the Djibouti Internet Exchange, is a meeting point for cable systems passing between the Red Sea and Indian Ocean; national operator managed the Australia West Cable landing and signed an agreement for IP traffic through Paris and Marseille; international operator signed MoU for extension of cable from the Gulf to Djibouti (2020)

domestic: 4 per 100 fixed-line and 41 per 100 mobile-cellular; Djibouti Telecom (DT) 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 (2019)

international: country code - 253; landing points for the SEA-ME-WE-3 & 5, EASSy, Aden-Djibouti, Africa-1, DARE-1, EIG, MENA, Bridge International, PEACE Cable, and SEACOM fiber-optic submarine cable systems providing links to Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia and Africa; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intelsat - Indian Ocean and 1 Arabsat) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

state-owned Radiodiffusion-Television de Djibouti 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 (2019)

Internet users

total: 554,300 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 55.68% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 160

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 25,053 (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2.54 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 156


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 4

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 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 10

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 7

under 914 m: 2 (2013)


total: 97 km (Djibouti segment of the 756 km Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway) (2017)

standard gauge: 97 km 1.435-m gauge (2017)

country comparison to the world: 127

Merchant marine

total: 33

by type: bulk carrier 1, container ship 1, general cargo 2, oil tanker 8, other 21 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 131

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Djibouti

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Djibouti Armed Forces (FAD): Army, Navy, Air Force; Djibouti Coast Guard; Ministry of Interior: National Gendarmerie, National Police (2021)

note - the National Police is responsible for security within Djibouti City and has primary control over immigration and customs procedures for all land border-crossing points, while the National Gendarmerie is responsible for all security outside of Djibouti City, as well as for protecting critical infrastructure within the city, such as the international airport

Military expenditures

4.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

3.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

3.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

4% of GDP (2014 est.)

4.3% of GDP (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 9

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Djibouti Armed Forces (FAD) have approximately 10,500 active troops (8,000 Army; 250 Naval; 250 Air; 2,000 Gendarmerie) (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the FAD is armed largely with older French and Soviet-era weapons systems; since 2010, it has received limited amounts of mostly second-hand equipment from a variety of countries, including Canada, China, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, and the US (2020)

Military deployments

960 Somalia (AMISOM) (2021)

Maritime threats

the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Center (PRC) received zero incidents of piracy and armed robbery in 2020 for the Horn of Africa; while there were no recorded incidents, the IMB PRC warns that Somalia pirates continue to possess the capacity to carry out attacks in the Somali basin and wider Indian Ocean; in particular, the report warns that, "Masters and crew must remain vigilant and cautious when transiting these waters."; 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; the EU naval mission, Operation ATALANTA, continues its operations in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean through 2022; naval units from China, India, Japan, Pakistan, South Korea, the US, and other countries also operate in conjunction with EU forces; China has established a logistical base in Djibouti to support its deployed naval units in the Horn of Africa

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; 16-25 years of age for voluntary military training; no conscription (2020)

Military - note

as of 2021, China, France, Italy, Japan, and the US maintained bases in Djibouti for regional military missions, including counter-terrorism, counter-piracy, crisis response, and security assistance (note – France has multiple bases and hosts troop contingents from Germany and Spain); the EU and NATO have also maintained a presence to support multinational naval counter-piracy operations and maritime training efforts; in 2017, Djibouti and Saudi Arabia announced plans for the Saudis to build a military base there, although no start date was announced


Terrorist group(s)


note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

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 moved across the border on Ras Doumera peninsula and occupied Doumera Island with undefined sovereignty in the Red Sea

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 12,139 (Somalia), 5,666 (Yemen) (2020)