Djibouti facts on every entity in the world

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 begin a third term in 2011. 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 United States. 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

Area 151/257

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:

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)

Total renewable water resources

0.3 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.02 cu km/yr (84%/0%/16%)

per capita: 24.84 cu m/yr (2000)

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


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%

Population 163/238

828,324 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 32.31% (male 134,166/female 133,479)

15-24 years: 21.82% (male 85,021/female 95,706)

25-54 years: 37.59% (male 129,382/female 182,021)

55-64 years: 4.67% (male 17,970/female 20,689)

65 years and over: 3.61% (male 13,422/female 16,468) (2015 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: 23.2 years

male: 21.5 years

female: 24.5 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 40/233

2.2% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 64/224

23.65 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 105/225

7.73 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 20/222

6.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 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: 0.87 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female

total population: 0.85 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 56/184

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

Infant mortality rate 39/224

total: 48.7 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 55.79 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 41.39 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 188/224

total population: 62.79 years

male: 60.28 years

female: 65.37 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 83/224

2.39 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

19% (2012)

Health expenditures 44/191

8.9% of GDP (2013)

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

1.59% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

9,900 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

600 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 134/191

8.5% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 14/138

29.8% (2012)

Education expenditures 11/173

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 is named after the capital city of Djibouti

Government type



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 (2015)

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 2011 (next to be held by 2016); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: Ismail Omar GUELLEH reelected president for a third term; percent of vote - Ismail Omar GUELLEH (RPP) 80.6%, Mohamed Warsama RAGUEH (independent) 19.4%

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 pary - 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; magistrates appointed for life with retirement at age 65; Constitutional magistrates - 2 appointed by the president, 2 by the president of the National Assembly, and 2 by High Council of the Judiciary; magistrates appointed for 8-year, non-renewable terms

subordinate courts: High Court of Appeal; 5 Courts of First Instance; customary courts

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


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 rainfall and less than 4% arable land limits crop production to small quantities of 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. Imports, exports, and reexports - primarily of coffee from landlocked neighbor Ethiopia - represent 70% of port activity at Djibouti's container terminal. Djibouti 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 official unemployment rate of nearly 50% - with youth unemployment near 80% - continues to be a major problem. Inflation declined to 3% in 2014 due to low international food prices and a decline in electricity tariffs.

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 infrastructure development for transportation and energy and Djibouti – with the help of foreign partners – has begun to increase and modernize its port capacity.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 186/230

$3.093 billion (2015 est.)

$2.904 billion (2014 est.)

$2.74 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.743 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 25/225

6.5% (2015 est.)

6% (2014 est.)

5% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 186/230

$3,300 (2015 est.)

$3,100 (2014 est.)

$2,900 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 68/179

21.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

18.5% of GDP (2014 est.)

17.3% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 63.4%

government consumption: 33.6%

investment in fixed capital: 36.1%

investment in inventories: 0.4%

exports of goods and services: 40.1%

imports of goods and services: -73.6%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.8%

industry: 16.4%

services: 80.8% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

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


construction, agricultural processing, shipping

Industrial production growth rate 37/202

4.5% (2015 est.)

Labor force 164/233

294,600 (2012)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: NA%

industry: NA%

services: NA%

Unemployment rate 204/207

60% (2014 est.)

59% (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line


note: percent of population below $1.25 per day at purchasing power parity (2012 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.4%

highest 10%: 30.9% (2002)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 56/144

40.9 (2002)


revenues: $587.5 million

expenditures: $792.9 million (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 72/219

33.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 205/220

-11.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 119/176

38.6% of GDP (2012 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 126/226

2.4% (2015 est.)

2.9% (2014 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 67/184

12% (31 December 2015 est.)

12.69% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 153/192

$1.007 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$963.4 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 165/193

$1.43 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$1.24 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 167/191

$560.1 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$527.9 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Current account balance 99/197

-$547 million (2015 est.)

-$407 million (2014 est.)

Exports 191/224

$141.6 million (2015 est.)

$130.1 million (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

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

Exports - partners

Somalia 82.9%, Yemen 5%, UAE 4.4% (2014)

Imports 178/223

$983.9 million (2015 est.)

$969.7 million (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

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

Imports - partners

China 29.3%, Saudi Arabia 16.3%, Indonesia 8%, India 7.7% (2014)

Debt - external 166/206

$905.5 million (31 December 2014 est.)

$832.8 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 108/120

$1.367 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.102 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

Djiboutian francs (DJF) per US dollar -

177.7 (2015 est.)

177.72 (2014 est.)

177.72 (2013 est.)

177.72 (2012 est.)

177.72 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 171/220

335 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 176/219

311.6 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 131/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 141/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 170/214

131,400 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 50/214

98.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 79/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 170/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 93/212

1.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 125/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 116/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 181/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 124/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 174/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 158/212

8,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 125/214

19.18 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 143/213

8,089 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 178/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 137/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 88/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 188/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 130/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 151/212

1.796 million Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 181/219

total subscriptions: 21,900

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 177/217

total: 287,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 35 (2014 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 is primarily limited to the area in and around Djibouti city

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 regional microwave radio relay telephone network (2009)

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)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2001)

Television broadcast stations

1 (2001)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 200/232

215 (2012)

Internet users 178/217

total: 73,500

percent of population: 9.1% (2014 est.)


Airports 152/236

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)

Railways 128/136

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)

Roadways 166/223

total: 3,065 km

paved: 1,379 km

unpaved: 1,686 km (2000)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Djibouti

Military and Security

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); 17,634 (Yemen) (2016)