[Country map of Djibouti]



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

Map references: Africa

total area: 22,000 sq km
land area: 21,980 sq km
comparative area: slightly larger than Massachusetts

Land boundaries: total 508 km, Eritrea 113 km, Ethiopia 337 km, Somalia 58 km

Coastline: 314 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: none

Climate: desert; torrid, dry

Terrain: coastal plain and plateau separated by central mountains

Natural resources: geothermal areas

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 9%
forest and woodland: 0%
other: 91%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

current issues: inadequate supplies of potable water; desertification
natural hazards: earthquakes; droughts; occasional cyclonic disturbances from the Indian Ocean bring heavy rains and flash floods
international agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ship Pollution; signed, but not ratified - Climate Change, Desertification

Note: strategic location near world's busiest shipping lanes and close to Arabian oilfields; terminus of rail traffic into Ethiopia; a vast wasteland


Population: 421,320 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 43% (female 90,070; male 90,631)
15-64 years: 55% (female 108,824; male 121,715)
65 years and over: 2% (female 4,900; male 5,180) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.48% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 42.79 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 15.51 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -12.46 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 108.8 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 49.7 years
male: 47.83 years
female: 51.62 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.15 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Djiboutian(s)
adjective: Djiboutian

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

Religions: Muslim 94%, Christian 6%

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

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1990)
total population: 48%
male: 63%
female: 34%


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

Digraph: DJ

Type: republic

Capital: Djibouti

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

Independence: 27 June 1977 (from France)

National holiday: Independence Day, 27 June (1977)

Constitution: multiparty constitution approved in referendum 4 September 1992

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

Suffrage: universal adult at age NA

Executive branch:
chief of state: President HASSAN GOULED Aptidon (since 24 June 1977); election last held 7 May 1993 (next to be held NA 1999); results - President Hassan GOULED Aptidon was reelected
head of government: Prime Minister BARKAT Gourad Hamadou (since 30 September 1978)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; responsible to the president

Legislative branch: unicameral
Chamber of Deputies (Chambre des Deputes): elections last held 18 December 1992; results - RPP (the ruling party) dominated; seats - (65 total) RPP 65

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Political parties and leaders:
ruling party: People's Progress Assembly (RPP), Hassan GOULED Aptidon
other parties: Democratic Renewal Party (PRD), Mohamed Jama ELABE; Democratic National Party (PND), ADEN Robleh Awaleh

Other political or pressure groups: Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD) and affiliates; Movement for Unity and Democracy (MUD)


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Roble OLHAYE
chancery: Suite 515, 1156 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005
telephone: [1] (202) 331-0270
FAX: [1] (202) 331-0302

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Martin L. CHESHES
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: 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


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 being 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. It has few natural resources and little industry. The nation is, therefore, heavily dependent on foreign assistance (an important supplement to GDP) to help support its balance of payments and to finance development projects. An unemployment rate of over 30% continues to be a major problem. Per capita consumption dropped an estimated 35% over the last six years because of recession, civil war, and a high population growth rate (including immigrants and refugees).

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $500 million (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: -3% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $1,200 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6% (1993 est.)

Unemployment rate: over 30% (1994 est.)

revenues: $164 million
expenditures: $201 million, including capital expenditures of $16 million (1993 est.)

Exports: $184 million (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: hides and skins, coffee (in transit)
partners: Somalia 48%, Yemen 42%

Imports: $384 million (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: foods, beverages, transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum products
partners: France, UK, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, South Korea

External debt: $227 million (1993 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 3% (1991 est.); accounts for 14% of GDP

capacity: 90,000 kW
production: 170 million kWh
consumption per capita: 398 kWh (1993)

Industries: limited to a few small-scale enterprises, such as dairy products and mineral-water bottling

Agriculture: mostly fruit and vegetables; herding of goats, sheep, and camels

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY78-89), $39 million; Western (non-US) countries, including ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $1.1 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $149 million; Communist countries (1970-89), $35 million

Currency: 1 Djiboutian franc (DF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Djiboutian francs (DF) per US$1 - 177.721 (fixed rate since 1973)

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 97 km (Djibouti segment of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad)
narrow gauge: 97 km 1.000-m gauge

total: 2,900 km
paved: 280 km
unpaved: improved, unimproved earth 2,620 km (1982)

Ports: Djibouti

Merchant marine:
total: 1 cargo ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,369 GRT/3,030 DWT

total: 13
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 3
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 2
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 6


Telephone system: NA telephones; telephone facilities in the city of Djibouti are adequate as are the microwave radio relay connections to outlying areas of the country
local: NA
intercity: microwave radio relay network
international: international connections via submarine cable to Saudi Arabia and by satellite link to other countries; 1 INTELSAT (Indian Ocean) and 1 ARABSAT earth station

broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 2, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 1
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Djibouti National Army (includes Navy and Air Force), National Security Force (Force Nationale de Securite), National Police Force

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 101,385; males fit for military service 59,337 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $26 million, NA% of GDP (1989)