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Info Africa - DJIBOUTI

Djibouti is located in north-eastern Africa, in the horn of Africa. It borders the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, as well as Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. From its early days, Djibouti was inhabited by nomadic tribes with the main tribe being the Afars of Ethiopian origin and the Issas of Somali origin. When France was occupying Somalia, they extended their control to Djibouti. In 1997, the French granted Djibouti its independence. Djibouti’s first president favoured his own Issas community and as a result, resentment erupted into a civil war in the early 1990s. This civil war ended in 2001. Because of Djibouti’s ideal geographic location, it serves as a vital transshipment location for goods entering and leaving the East

African regions. Djibouti’s coast is filled with white sandy beaches, while the inland territory consists of semi-desert and some mountain ranges. The capital city, Djibouti, has a maghreb feel to it, as a result of its close proximity to the Arab peninsula. Le Marché Central (Central Market) is one main attraction of the city, along with the various mosques, the Presidential Palace and local restaurants as well as the Tropical Aquarium, which allows for underwater exhibits from the Red Sea. Djibouti is home of Lake Assal, one of the lowest surface areas in this world (150 m below sea level). It is said that about 60% of Djiboutians are ethnic Somali, who mainly live in the southern region. The rest belong to the Afar group, the main tribe in the northern region. Although the official languages are French and Arabic, Somali is very widely spoken, especially in the south, and the Afar language in the north. The culture of Djibouti is a hybrid of Ethiopia, Somali and Arab influences. For example, Afar music is similar to the music of Ethiopia with elements of Arabic music.
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Country Flag: Djibouti's 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

Nationality: Djiboutian

Capital: Djibouti

Population: 486,530 ( (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 43.3%
  • 15-64 years: 53.3%
  • 65 years and over: 3.3% (2006 est.)  

Population growth rate: 2.02% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 67.9% of the population is literate (male: 78% , female: 58.4%) (2003 est.)

Major religions: Muslim 94%, Christian 6%

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

Quick Facts
  • total: 23,000 sq km
  • land: 22,980 sq km
  • water: 20 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: half the size of Nova Scotia

Natural resources: geothermal areas, gold, clay, granite, limestone, marble, salt, diatomite, gypsum, pumice, petroleum

Environmental Issues: inadequate supplies of potable water; limited arable land; desertification; endangered species


The economy of Djibouti, which is a free trade zone in northeast Africa, is largely based on service activities linked to its location. Its location is the main economic asset of this country, controlling imports and exports of various landlocked African countries, such as Ethiopia.  Djibouti is a transit port and an international transshipment and refueling centre. Two-thirds of the population lives in the capital city, Djibouti, and the rest are mostly nomadic herders. Most food needs to be imported as insufficient rainfall hinders crop production and the country has rather few natural resources and little industry. Djibouti is heavily dependent on foreign aid to finance development projects. The high unemployment rate of at least 50% is a major problem for this nation. The government continues to struggle to meet the conditions of foreign aid donors.

Major industries:

  • construction
  • agricultural processing
  • salt

Agricultural products:

  • fruits and vegetables
  • goats
  • sheep
  • camels
  • animal hides

Oil production: 0 bbl/day (2003)

Railways: 100 km

Road map: 2,890 km (paved: 364 km, unpaved: 2,526 km)

Currency: Djiboutian franc


Telephone lines in use: 11,100 (2004)

Cellular lines in use: 34,500 (2004)

Television Stations: 1 (2002)

Radio Stations: AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2001)

Internet users: 9,000 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 2.9% (2003 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 9,100 (2003 est.)

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