Djibouti [Country Flag of Djibouti]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Djibouti]



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Location: 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: Africa

total: 22,000 sq km
land: 21,980 sq km
water: 20 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly smaller than Massachusetts

Land boundaries:
total: 508 km
border countries: 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

Climate: desert; torrid, dry

Terrain: coastal plain and plateau separated by central mountains

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Asal -155 m
highest point: Moussa Ali 2,028 m

Natural resources: geothermal areas

Land use:
arable land: NA%
permanent crops: NA%
permanent pastures: 9%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 91% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: earthquakes; droughts; occasional cyclonic disturbances from the Indian Ocean bring heavy rains and flash floods

Environment—current issues: inadequate supplies of potable water; desertification

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ship Pollution
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


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Population: 440,727 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 43% (male 94,399; female 94,154)
15-64 years: 55% (male 127,190; female 113,582)
65 years and over: 2% (male 5,877; female 5,525) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.51% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 41.75 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 14.69 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -11.91 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.11 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.06 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 102.4 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 51.07 years
male: 49.06 years
female: 53.15 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.94 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Djiboutian(s)
adjective: Djiboutian

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

Religions: Muslim 94%, Christian 6%

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

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 46.2%
male: 60.3%
female: 32.7% (1995 est.)


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

Data code: DJ

Government type: republic

National 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: NA years of age; universal adult

Executive branch:
chief of state: President HASSAN GOULED Aptidon (since 24 June 1977)
head of government: Prime Minister BARKAT Gourad Hamadou (since 30 September 1978)
cabinet: Council of Ministers responsible to the president
elections: president elected by popular vote to a six-year term; election last held 7 May 1993 (next to be held NA 1999)
election results: President HASSAN GOULED reelected; percent of vote—NA

Legislative branch: unicameral Chamber of Deputies or Chambre des Deputes (65 seats; members are elected to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 19 December 1997 (next to be held NA 2002)
election results: percent of vote—NA; seats—RPP 65; note—RPP (the ruling party) dominated

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

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

Political pressure groups and leaders: Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy or FRUD, and affiliates; Movement for Unity and Democracy or MUD

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador ROBLE Olhaye Oudine
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 Lange SCHERMERHORN
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 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


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Economy—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 to help support its balance of payments and to finance development projects. An unemployment rate of 40% to 50% continues to be a major problem. Per capita consumption dropped an estimated 35% over the last seven years because of recession, civil war, and a high population growth rate (including immigrants and refugees). Faced with a multitude of economic difficulties, the government has fallen in arrears on long-term external debt and has been struggling to meet the stipulations of foreign aid donors.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$520 million (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 0.5% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,200 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 3%
industry: 20%
services: 77% (1996 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 3% (1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: 282,000
by occupation: agriculture 75%, industry 11%, services 14% (1991 est.)

Unemployment rate: 40%-50% (1996 est.)

revenues: $156 million
expenditures: $175 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate: 3% (1996 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 85,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 180 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 427 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: fruits, vegetables; goats, sheep, camels

total value: $39.6 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: hides and skins, coffee (in transit) (1995)
partners: Ethiopia 45%, Somalia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia (1996)

total value: $200.5 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: foods, beverages, transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum products (1995)
partners: France, Ethiopia, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Thailand (1996)

Debt—external: $276 million (1996 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA

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


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Telephones: 7,200 (1986 est.)

Telephone system: telephone facilities in the city of Djibouti are adequate as are the microwave radio relay connections to outlying areas of the country
domestic: microwave radio relay network
international: submarine cable to Jiddah, Suez, Sicily, Marseilles, Colombo, and Singapore; satellite earth stations—1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Arabsat; Medarabtel regional microwave radio relay telephone network

Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 2, shortwave 0

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 1

Televisions: 17,000 (1993 est.)


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total: 97 km (Djibouti segment of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad)
narrow gauge: 97 km 1.000-m gauge
note: in April 1998, Djibouti and Ethiopia announced plans to revitalize the century-old railroad that links their capitals

total: 2,890 km
paved: 364 km
unpaved: 2,526 km (1996 est.)

Ports and harbors: Djibouti

Merchant marine:
total: 1 cargo ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,369 GRT/3,030 DWT (1997 est.)

Airports: 11 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 2 (1997 est.)


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

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 104,450 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 61,319 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $26 million (1989)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none