Djibouti State Overview

The Republic of Djibouti (in French Djibouti, in Arabic: جيبوتي, Ŷībūtī) is a small country in East Africa located in the Horn of Africa. It borders Eritrea to the north, Ethiopia to the west and south, Somalia to the southeast, and the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to the east. Just 20 kilometers off the coast of Djibouti is Yemen, on the other side of the Red Sea.


Currently the Afar or Danaquiles in the northern two thirds of the territory and the Somali partiality of the Issa in the southern third conflictively coexist in this small state. These ethnic groups had regular business contacts with the Arabs since ancient times and adopted Islam as their religion. In the 19th century, France established a protectorate in this area, called French Somalia ruled by Léonce Lagarde. In 1967, the name was changed to the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas. The 27 as June as 1977, he was granted independence as Djibouti. A civil war led by Afar rebels in the early 1990s was stopped by a peace accord in 1994. However, Djibouti’s history, recorded in the poetry and songs of its nomadic peoples, dates back thousands of years to a time when the residents of those lands traded furs for perfumes and spices from Egypt, India, and China. It is through close contacts with the Arabian Peninsula for over 1000 years that the Somali and Afar tribes in this region became one of the first peoples on the African continent to accept Islam.


Djibouti is a semi-presidential republic where executive power rests with the government and legislative power with the government alongside parliament. The president is the head of state and appoints a Prime Minister as the head of government. The Djibouti Chamber of Deputies, the country’s parliament, has 65 members.

Djiboutian politics is completely dominated by the People’s Rally for Progress, which has been in power since 1977. The current president is Ismail Omar Guelleh, in office since 1999. The political opposition has little weight and does not even have representation in the National Assembly.


Djibouti is located in East Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea between Eritrea and Somalia. Its territory occupies an area of 23,200 km², an area similar to that of the Valencian Community.

The center of the country is mountainous and divides Djibouti into the coastal plain and a plateau in the interior. The lowest point is Lake Assal (-155 meters), and the highest is Moussa Ali (2,028 meters). Djibouti’s natural resources include geothermal energy. There are no areas of arable land, irrigation or permanent crops, or any kind of forest. 9% of the country is part of permanent grazing land. The climate is desert with average temperatures of 30 ° C.

Inadequate supply of drinking water and desertification are current problems. Djibouti is part of the international agreements on biodiversity, climate change, desertification, endangered species, Law of the Sea, Protection of the Ozone Layer.


Djibouti’s economy is based mainly on services related to the strategic location of the country and its status as a free trade zone in Northeast Africa. Two-thirds of its residents inhabit the capital city, with the remaining third made up mainly of nomadic herders. Low rainfall limits the production of agricultural products, so most food must be imported.

There are very few natural resources, although they are very well used since since 2004 adventure sports companies have proliferated in the mountainous area of the country. Among the activities offered in the desert areas you can go boogie, quad and camel excursions. There is an almost total absence from the industry. Djibouti is therefore highly dependent on international aid to sustain its balance of payments and finance development projects. The largest international aid is received from France, which represents 40% of the national budget. In return, France has its largest military base on foreign soil in Djibouti. The country is also an oil supply center.


At the beginning of 2007, Djibouti had a population of 496,300 residents. According to these statistics, 95% are black and the remaining 5% are white (of French and Italian origin) and Arabs. The official languages are French and Arabic. Life expectancy is 43 years. The average number of children per woman is 5.23, one of the highest rates in the world, which could cause serious economic and environmental problems. 67.9% of the population is literate. It is estimated that 2.9% of the population is infected with the HIV virus (AIDS).

Djibouti hosts many refugees who migrate from neighboring countries such as Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia. The Ali Adde camp is the main refugee reception site in the country; It is the first of its kind of its kind, and is managed jointly by the Djiboutian government, local NGOs and United Nations agencies. The field is located in the Ali-Sabieh district, about 120 km southeast of the capital city of Djibouti. It currently has a population of about 10,000 refugees.

  • Birth rate: 39.07 births / 1000 population (2007)
  • Mortality rate: 19.23 deaths / 1000 population (2007)
  • Infant mortality rate: 100.7 deaths / 1000 live births (2007)
  • Life expectancy at birth: 43.25 years (2007)
  • Life expectancy by sex: Men 41.88 years, Women 44.65 years (2007)
  • Literacy rate: Men 22%, Women 41.6%. (2003)


Djibouti’s culture is very similar to that of its neighbors. In addition, the long dependence on France has given its own characteristics to the Djiboutian culture. Islamic culture influences a lot since the population is Muslim 94%, while the percentage of Christians is only 6%. Regarding music, the greatest influences come from Ethiopian music with elements of Arabic music. In DjiboutiSeveral internationally renowned writers have been born, who generally write in French, such as Mouna-Hodan Ahmed and Abdourahman Waberi, although the latter is considered Somali despite being born in Djibouti. Almost all the people of Djibouti are Muslim, only a small percentage are Christian, mainly Europeans. Although French and Arabic are the official languages, in addition, Somali and Afar are widespread.


According to educationvv, education in Djibouti is strongly influenced by the French. (Hare 2007) Although the government put all its efforts to improve the country’s education during the nineties, the educational system is still below the expectations of the population and the development needs of the nation. There are currently 81 public primary schools, 24 private primary schools, twelve secondary schools, and two vocational schools in Djibouti. The rate of women in school is only 21.9% and the rate of men in school stood at 29.0% in 2007.

Djibouti State Overview

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