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 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 a third term in 2011 and begin a fourth term in 2016. 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 US. 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

Map references



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

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than New Jersey

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


mean elevation: 430 m
elevation extremes: 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

agricultural land: 73.4%
arable land 0.1%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 73.3%
forest: 0.2%
other: 26.4% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

10 sq km (2012)

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


846,687 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Djiboutian(s)
adjective: Djiboutian

Ethnic groups

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


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


Muslim 94%, Christian 6%

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 more than 35,000 arriving by April 2016. 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: 31.71% (male 134,604/female 133,840)
15-24 years: 21.54% (male 85,805/female 96,587)
25-54 years: 38.37% (male 134,945/female 189,930)
55-64 years: 4.7% (male 18,257/female 21,538)
65 years and over: 3.68% (male 13,992/female 17,189) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 58.5%
youth dependency ratio: 51.9%
elderly dependency ratio: 6.6%
potential support ratio: 15.1% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 23.5 years
male: 21.8 years
female: 24.9 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

2.18% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

23.6 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

7.6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

5.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)


urban population: 77.3% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.6% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

DJIBOUTI (capital) 529,000 (2015)

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: 0.85 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.84 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Child labor - children ages 5-14

total number: 13,176
percentage: 8% (2006 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

229 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 47.2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 54.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 40.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 63.2 years
male: 60.7 years
female: 65.8 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.35 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

19% (2012)

Health expenditures

10.6% of GDP (2014)

Physicians density

0.23 physicians/1,000 population (2006)

Hospital bed density

1.4 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

urban: 97.4% of population
rural: 64.7% of population
total: 90% of population
urban: 2.6% of population
rural: 35.3% of population
total: 10% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 59.8% of population
rural: 5.1% of population
total: 47.4% of population
urban: 40.2% of population
rural: 94.9% of population
total: 52.6% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

1.55% (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

9,400 (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

600 (2015 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 (2016)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

8.5% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

29.8% (2012)

Education expenditures

4.5% of GDP (2010)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

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

Government type

semi-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)

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 (2016)

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; (constitution amended in 2010 to allow a third term); election last held on 8 April 2016 (next to be held by 2021); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Ismail Omar GUELLEH reelected president for a fourth term; percent of vote - Ismail Omar GUELLEH (RPP) 87%, Omar Elmi KHAIREH (represented the USN) 7.3%, other 5.6%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale, formerly the Chamber of Deputies (65 seats; 52 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 13 directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 22 February 2013 (next to be held in 2018)
election results: percent of vote by party - UMP 61.5%, USN 35.6%, CDU 3.0%; seats by party - UMP 43, USN 21, CDU 1

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 or 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

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]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Siad DOUALEH (since 28 January 2016)
chancery: 1156 15th Street NW, Suite 515, Washington, DC 20005
telephone: [1] (202) 331-0270
FAX: [1] (202) 331-0302

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas P. KELLY (since 13 October 2014)
embassy: Lot 350-B, Haramouss
mailing address: B.P. 185, Djibouti
telephone: [253] 21 45 30 00
FAX: [253] 21 45 31 29

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


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 rainfal

Djibouti provides services as both a transit port for the region and an international transshipment and refueling center. Imports, exports, and re-exports represent 70% of port activity at Djibouti's container terminal. Reexports consist primarily of coff

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 in

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$3.345 billion (2016 est.)
$3.141 billion (2015 est.)
$2.949 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.894 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

6.5% (2016 est.)
6.5% (2015 est.)
6% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$3,400 (2016 est.)
$3,300 (2015 est.)
$3,100 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

10.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
28.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
18.5% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 60.5%
government consumption: 32%
investment in fixed capital: 42.2%
investment in inventories: 0.4%
exports of goods and services: 34.8%
imports of goods and services: -69.9% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.9%
industry: 20.8%
services: 76.3% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

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


construction, agricultural processing, shipping

Industrial production growth rate

4.7% (2016 est.)

Labor force

294,600 (2012)

Labor force - by occupation

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

Unemployment rate

60% (2014 est.)
59% (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line

note: percent of population below $1.25 per day at purchasing power parity (2015 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: $685.7 million
expenditures: $885.9 million (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

36.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-10.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

38.6% of GDP (2012 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3% (2016 est.)
2.7% (2015 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

11.7% (31 December 2016 est.)
11.62% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$1.207 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.182 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$1.71 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.572 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$652 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$597.6 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Current account balance

-$325 million (2016 est.)
-$530 million (2015 est.)


$146.1 million (2016 est.)
$141.9 million (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

reexports, hides and skins, coffee (in transit), scrap metal

Exports - partners

Somalia 79.8%, US 5.4%, Yemen 4.6%, UAE 4% (2015)


$992 million (2016 est.)
$1.038 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

foods, beverages, transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, clothing

Imports - partners

China 42.1%, Saudi Arabia 14.3%, Indonesia 5.9%, India 4.4% (2015)

Debt - external

$1.339 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.09 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$1.767 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.368 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Exchange rates

Djiboutian francs (DJF) per US dollar -
177.7 (2016 est.)
177.72 (2015 est.)
177.72 (2014 est.)
177.72 (2013 est.)
177.72 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 400,000
electrification - total population: 50%
electrification - urban areas: 61%
electrification - rural areas: 14% (2013)

Electricity - production

400 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

400 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

100,000 kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

98.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

1.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

6,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

402.7 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

6,509 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

1.8 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 23,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 312,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 38 (July 2015 est.)

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
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 regi (2015)

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 (2007)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 99,000
percent of population: 11.9% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 4 (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

J2 (2016)


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)


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)


total: 3,065 km
paved: 1,379 km
unpaved: 1,686 km (2000)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Djibouti

Transportation - note

while attacks continued to decrease, with only 4 in 2014, 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

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

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): 12,363 (Somalia) (2015); 19,636 (Yemen) (2016)

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 women and girls may be forced into domestic servitude or prostitution after reaching Djibouti City, the Ethiopia-Djibouti 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; in 2014, Djibouti was granted a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has a written plan that, if implemented would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; one forced labor trafficker was convicted in 2014 but received a suspended sentence inadequate to deter trafficking; authorities did not investigate or prosecute any other forced labor crimes, any sex trafficking offenses, or any officials complicit in human trafficking, and remained limited in their ability to recognize or protect trafficking victims; official round-ups, detentions, and deportations of non-Djiboutian residents, including children without screening for trafficking victims remained routine; the government did not provide care to victims but supported local NGOs operating centers that assisted victims (2015)