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Djibouti country facts

Republic of Djibouti Africa Djibouti 810,179 inhabitants 23,200 sq km 34.92 inhabitants/sq km Djiboutian francs (DJF) population evolution



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.



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

Geographic coordinates

11 30 N, 43 00 E

Area (sq km)

total: 23,200 sq km
land: 23,180 sq km
water: 20 sq km

Area - comparative (sq km)

slightly smaller than New Jersey
Area comparison map

Land boundaries (km)

total: 528 km
border countries: Eritrea 125 km, Ethiopia 342 km, Somalia 61 km

Coastline (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 (m)

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: 0.09%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 99.91% (2011)

Irrigated land (sq km)

10.12 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources (cu km)

0.3 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural) ()

total: 0.02 cu km/yr (84%/0%/16%)
per capita: 24.84 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards

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

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 and the saltiest lake in the world

People and Society


noun: Djiboutian(s)
adjective: Djiboutian

Ethnic groups (%)

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

Languages (%)

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

Religions (%)

Muslim 94%, Christian 6%


810,179 (July 2014 est.)   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)

Age structure (%)

0-14 years: 32.9% (male 133,786/female 133,163)
15-24 years: 22% (male 83,871/female 94,316)
25-54 years: 36.9% (male 124,198/female 174,557)
55-64 years: 4.6% (male 17,694/female 19,931)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 12,875/female 15,788) (2014 est.)

Age structure in Djibouti

Median age (years)

total: 22.8 years
male: 21.1 years
female: 24.1 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate (%)

2.23% (2014 est.)

Birth rate (births/1,000 population)

24.08 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate (deaths/1,000 population)

7.84 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate (migrant(s)/1,000 population)

6.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Urbanization (%)

urban population: 77.1% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 1.96% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

DJIBOUTI (capital) 496,000 (2011)

Sex ratio (male(s)/female)

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: 0.85 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate (deaths/100,000 live births)

200 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)

total: 50.2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 57.46 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 42.72 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth (years)

total population: 62.4 years
male: 59.93 years
female: 64.94 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

2.47 children born/woman (2014 est.)

Health expenditures (% of GDP)

7.9% of GDP (2011)

Physicians density (physicians/1,000 population)

0.23 physicians/1,000 population (2006)

Hospital bed density (beds/1,000 population)

1.4 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source (% of population)

improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 65.5% of population
total: 92.1% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 34.5% of population
total: 7.9% of population (2012 est.)

Sanitation facility access (% of population)

improved: urban: 73.1% of population
rural: 21.6% of population
total: 61.4% of population
unimproved: urban: 26.9% of population
rural: 78.4% of population
total: 38.6% of population (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)

1.2% (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

7,700 (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

800 (2012 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: dengue fever
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 (2013)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate (%)

9.4% (2008)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight (%)

29.8% (2012)

Education expenditures (% of GDP)

8.4% of GDP (2007)

Literacy (%)

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) (years)

total: 6 years
male: 7 years
female: 6 years (2011)


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; amended 2006, 2008, 2010 (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


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 (responsible to the president)
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%

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 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

Judicial branch

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

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]
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 (a coalition of parties including RPP, FRUD, PND, and PPSD)
Union for Democracy and Justice or UDJ [Ismail GUEDI Hared]
Union for National Salvation or USN (an umbrella coalition comprising PRD, PDD, MODEL, ARD, and UDJ) [Ahmed Youssouf HOUMER]

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Roble OLHAYE Oudine (since 22 March 1988)
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 Geeta PASI (since 29 August 2011)
embassy: Lot 350-B, Haramouss, Djibouti
mailing address: B. P. 185, Djibouti
telephone: [253] 21 45 30 00
FAX: [253] 21 45 30 20

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 - 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 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. 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. President GUELLEH in 2013 told international investors that Djibouti’s development plan is to increase its prominence in financial and communication sectors.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$2.505 billion (2013 est.)
$2.386 billion (2012 est.)
$2.275 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.459 billion (2013 est.)

GDP - real growth rate (%)

5% (2013 est.)
4.8% (2012 est.)
4.5% (2011 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$2,700 (2013 est.)
$2,700 (2012 est.)
$2,600 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (%)

agriculture: 3%
industry: 17.3%
services: 79.7% (2013 est.)

Labor force

294,600 (2012)

Labor force - by occupation (%)

agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Unemployment rate (%)

59% (2007 est.)
note: data are for urban areas only, unemployment is over 80% in rural areas

Population below poverty line (%)

note: percent of population below $1.25 per day at purchasing power parity (2012 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share (%)

lowest 10%: 2.4%
highest 10%: 30.9% (2002)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

40.9 (2002)


revenues: $512.7 million
expenditures: $532.9 million (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues (% of GDP)

35.1% of GDP (2013 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) (% of GDP)

-1.4% of GDP (2013 est.)

Public debt (% of GDP)

38.6% of GDP (2012 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) (%)

2.5% (2013 est.)
7.9% (2012 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate (%)

11% (31 December 2013 est.)
12% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$850.8 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$758.9 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money

$1.256 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.16 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$523.4 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$483.4 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Agriculture - products

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


construction, agricultural processing

Industrial production growth rate (%)

8% (2013 est.)

Current account balance

-$219.5 million (2013 est.)
-$216.2 million (2012 est.)


$90.8 million (2013 est.)
$87.9 million (2012 est.)

Exports - commodities (%)

reexports, hides and skins, coffee (in transit)

Exports - partners (%)

Somalia 80.1%, UAE 4.4%, Yemen 4.1% (2012)


$593.3 million (2013 est.)
$574.2 million (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities (%)

foods, beverages, transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum products

Imports - partners (%)

China 24.4%, Saudi Arabia 16.4%, India 10.6%, Indonesia 7.3% (2012)

External debt ($)

$821.6 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$773.9 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$630.6 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$510.6 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates

Currency converter
Djiboutian francs (DJF) per US dollar -
177.7 (2013 est.)
177.72 (2012 est.)
177.72 (2010 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year


Electricity - production (kWh)

325 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption (kWh)

302.3 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity (kW)

130,000 kW (2010 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels (% of total installed capacity)

100% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Crude oil - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - imports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves (bbl)

0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption (bbl/day)

12,460 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports (bbl/day)

19 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports (bbl/day)

8,089 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Natural gas - production (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - consumption (cu m)

0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - imports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves (cu m)

0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy (Mt)

1.15 million Mt (2011 est.)


Telephones - main lines in use

18,000 (2012)

Telephones - mobile cellular

209,000 (2012)

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 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)

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

215 (2012)

Internet users

25,900 (2009)



13 (2013)

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 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 2 (2013)

Railways (km)

total: 100 km (Djibouti segment of the 781 km Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway)
narrow gauge: 100 km 1.000-m gauge
note: railway is under joint control of Djibouti and Ethiopia but is largely inoperable (2008)

Roadways (km)

total: 3,065 km
paved: 1,226 km
unpaved: 1,839 km (2000)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Djibouti

Transportation - note

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 branches

Djibouti Armed Forces (Forces Armees Djiboutiennes, FAD): Djibouti National Army (includes Navy, Djiboutian Air Force (Force Aerienne Djiboutienne, FAD), National Gendarmerie (GN)) (2013)

Military service age and obligation (years of age)

18 years of age for voluntary military service; 16-25 years of age for voluntary military training; no conscription (2012)

Manpower available for military service

males age 16-49: 170,386
females age 16-49: 221,411 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 16-49: 114,557
females age 16-49: 154,173 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually

male: 8,360
female: 8,602 (2010 est.)

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): 19,168 (Somalia) (2014)

Trafficking in persons

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)

Largest cities of Djibouti

These are the 50 largest cities of Djibouti ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population
1 Jibuti 623,891