Djibouti: Wikis


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Republic of Djibouti
جمهورية جيبوتي
Jumhūriyyat Jībūtī
Jamhuuriyadda Jabuuti
République de Djibouti
Flag Coat of arms
Motto"Unité, Égalité, Paix"  (translation)
"Unity, Equality, Peace"
(and largest city)
11°36′N 43°10′E / 11.6°N 43.167°E / 11.6; 43.167
Official language(s) Arabic and French[1]
Recognised regional languages Afar, Somali[1]
Demonym Djiboutian
Government Semi-presidential republic
 -  President Ismail Omar Guelleh
 -  Prime Minister Dileita Mohamed Dileita
Independence from France 
 -  Date June 27, 1977 
 -  Total 23,200 km2 (149th)
8,958 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 0.09 (20 km² / 7.7 sq mi)
 -  2009 estimate 864,000[2] (160th)
 -  2000 census 460,700 
 -  Density 37.2/km2 (168th)
96.4/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $1.880 billion[3] 
 -  Per capita $2,396[3] 
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $982 million[3] 
 -  Per capita $1,252[3] 
HDI (2007) 0.520[4] (medium) (155th)
Currency Franc (DJF)
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)
 -  Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .dj
Calling code 253

Djibouti (Arabic: جيبوتيJībūtī, Somali: Jabuuti), officially the Republic of Djibouti, is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.



The history of Djibouti is recorded in poetry, songs, and folklore of its nomadic people and goes back thousands of years to a time when Djiboutians traded hides and skins for the perfumes and spices of ancient Egypt, India, and China. Through close contacts with the Arabian peninsula for more than 1,000 years, the Somali and Afar ethnic groups in this region became among the first on the African continent to adopt Islam.

French interest developed in the nineteenth century when the area was ruled by the sultan of Raheita, Tadjoura and Gobaad. The French bought the anchorage of Obock in 1862 and expanded it eventually to a colony called French Somaliland with essentially the current boundaries. In 1967, the area became the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas.

The Republic of Djibouti gained its independence from France on June 27, 1977. Djibouti is a Somali, Afar and Muslim country, which regularly takes part in Islamic affairs as well as Arab meetings.


Djibouti is a semi-presidential republic, with executive power in the central government, and legislative power in both the government and parliament. The parliamentary party system is dominated by the People's Rally for Progress and the President who currently is Ismail Omar Guelleh. The country's current constitution was approved in September 1992. Djibouti is a one party dominant state with the People's Rally for Progress in power. Other parties are allowed, but the main opposition, Union for a Presidential Majority, boycotted the 2005 and 2008 elections leaving all of the legislative seats to the PRP. (See Elections in Djibouti.)

The government is seen as being controlled by the Somali Issa Dir clan who enjoy the support of the Somali clans, especially the Gadabuursi Dir who are the second most prominent Somali clan in Djibouti politics. The country has recently come out of a decade long civil war, with the government and the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD) signing a peace treaty in 2000. Two FRUD members are part of the current cabinet.

Djibouti's second president, Guelleh was first elected to office in 1999, taking over from Hassan Gouled Aptidon, who had ruled the country since its independence from France in 1977.[5] Despite elections of the 1990s being described as "generally fair", Guelleh was sworn in for his second and final six-year term as president after a one-man election on 8 April 2005. He took 100% of the votes in a 78.9% turnout.

The prime minister, who follows the council of ministers ('cabinet'), is appointed by the President. The parliament – the Chambre des Députés – consists of 52 members who are selected every five to nine years.

In 2001, the Djiboutian government leased the former French Foreign Legion base Camp Lemonnier to the United States. It transitioned from United States Central Command to United States Africa Command in 2008 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

France's 13th Foreign Legion Demi-Brigade shares Camp Lemonier with the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) of the United States Central Command, which arrived in 2002. It is from Djibouti that Abu Ali al-Harithi, suspected mastermind of the 2000 USS Cole bombing, and the American citizen Ahmed Hijazi, along with four others persons, lost their lives in 2002 while riding a car in Yemen, by a Hellfire missile launched by an RQ-1 Predator drone provided by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).[6] It is also from there that the American Army launched a few attacks in 2007 against enemy forces in Somalia.

The country of Djibouti is a member of the Arab League, as well as the African Union, and also the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).


Lac Assal area

Djibouti lies in Northeast Africa on the Gulf of Aden at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. It has 314 km (195 mi) of coastline and shares a 113 km (70 mi) border with Eritrea, 337 km (209 mi) with Ethiopia and 58 km (36 mi) with Somalia (total 506 km/314 mi). The country is mainly a stony semidesert, with scattered plateaus and highlands. It has an area of 8,900 square miles (23,051 km2).

Regions and districts

Map of the regions of Djibouti

Djibouti is sectioned into 5 regions and one city. It is further subdivided into 11 districts.

The regions and city are:


The economy of Djibouti 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. Scant rainfall limits crop production to fruits and vegetables, and most food must be imported.

Fishing boats docked at the Port of Djibouti.

In April 2005, the United Nations World Food Programme warned that 30,000 people in Djibouti face serious food shortages following three years of poor rains.[7]

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. Daniel R. Sutton, an American salt miner, is also overseeing some $70 million operation to industrialize the collection of Djibouti’s plentiful salt in the Region Lake Asal.

There are gold miners from India, geothermal experts from Iceland, Turkish hotel managers, Saudi oil engineers, French bankers and American military contractors. Investors from Dubai have leased the country's port, in an effort to develop the area as a gateway to the region. Saudi investors are reportedly exploring the possibility of linking the Horn of Africa with the Arabian Peninsula via an 18-mile long oversea bridge referred to as the Bridge of the Horns. Tarek bin Laden, half brother of Osama bin Laden, has been linked to the project.

An unemployment rate of 40% to 50% continues to be a major problem. Inflation is not a concern, however, because of the fixed tie of the franc to the U.S. dollar. 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). Renewed fighting between Ethiopia and Eritrea has been beneficial to Djibouti, the Port of Djibouti now serving as landlocked Ethiopia's primary link to the sea. Faced with a multitude of economic difficulties, the government has fallen into arrears on long-term external debt and has been struggling to meet the stipulations of foreign aid donors.[1]


Afar man in nomad attire.
Somali man in traditional koofiyad fez.

The population consists of two major ethnic groups: the Somali and the Afar.

The remainder is formed by Europeans (mostly French and Italians), Arabs and Ethiopians. Tensions between the Afar and Issa was the cause of the civil war in the early 1990s.

The Somali ethnic component in Djibouti is mainly composed of the Issas, who form the majority and the Gadabuursi both of whom are subclans of the Dir. The Issas form part of the Madoobe Dir while the Gadabuursi are part of Madaluug Dir.

Although French and Arabic are the official languages, Somali and Afar are widely spoken.[1]

The bulk of Djibouti's people are urban residents; the remainder are pastoralists.



The life expectancy at birth is about 60 for both females and males.[8] Fertility is at about 3 children per woman.[8] In the country there are about 18 doctors per 100,000 persons.[9]


Mosque in Djibouti city

Djibouti's population is predominantly Muslim. Islam is observed by 94% of Djibouti's population (about 444,440), while the remaining six percent, primarily consisting of foreign nationals, follow various Christian traditions.[10]

Religion in Djibouti
religion percent


Every town and village in Djibouti has a mosque where people go to worship.[citation needed] Tombs of their former religious leaders and those considered holy are known as sacred spaces. The most famous sacred space for Islam in Djibouti is the tomb of Sheikh Abu Yazid, which is found in the Goda Mountains.[citation needed]

In addition to the Islamic calendar, Muslims in Djibouti also recognize New Year's Day (January 1) and Labor Day (May 1) as holidays.[citation needed]

Estimates on the Christian minority vary from less than one percent to six percent of the population. There live between 7,000 and 8,000 Catholics, of which some 300 are local Djiboutians, the rest being foreigners. The Christian population largely consists of foreign-born or expatriate residents. Djibouti has a Catholic bishop, 4 Catholic priests all of whom are foreigners – as well as about 40 Catholic missionaries.

While the Republic of Djibouti names the Islam as the sole state religion, the Constitution of 1992 provides for the equality of citizens of all faiths (Art. 1) as well as the freedom to practise any religion (Art. 11). Djibouti's Family Code (Code de la Famille) of 2002 prohibits Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men, unless the men convert to Islam. Marriage, divorce and inheritance are handled by the Family Court which applies the Family Code and has jurisdiction over Muslims, while non-Muslims must instead turn to civil courts. According to the International Religious Freedom Report 2008, while Muslim Djiboutians have the legal right to convert to another faith or marry outside of Islam, "converts may face negative societal, tribal, and familial attitudes towards their decision" and often face pressure to revert to Islam [12].


Beach in Djibouti City.

Djiboutian attire reflects the region's hot and arid climate. When not dressed in Westernized clothing such as jeans and t-shirts, men typically wear the macawiis, which is a sarong-like garment worn around the waist. Among nomads, many wear a loosely wrapped white cotton robe called a tobe that goes down to about the knee, with the end thrown over the shoulder (much like a Roman toga).

Women typically wear the dirac, which is a long, light, diaphanous voile dress made of cotton or polyester that is worn over a full-length half-slip and a brassiere. Married women tend to sport head-scarves referred to as shash, and also often cover their upper body with a shawl known as garbasaar. Unmarried or young women, however, do not always cover their heads. Traditional Arabian garb such as the male jellabiya (jellabiyaad in Somali) and the female niqab is also commonly worn. For some occasions such as festivals, women may adorn themselves with specialized jewelry and head-dresses similar to those worn by the Berber tribes of the Maghreb.[13]

A lot of Djibouti's original art is passed on and preserved orally, mainly through song. Many examples of Islamic, Ottoman, and French influences can also be noted in the local buildings, which contain plasterwork, carefully constructed motifs and calligraphy.


Education in Djibouti is strongly influenced by France.[14](Hare 2007) Although the government effort resulted in an increase in enrollment during the 1990s, the education system is still below people’s expectations and the needs of a developing nation[15]. There are 81 public primary schools, 24 registered private primary schools, 12 secondary schools and two vocational schools in Djibouti.[14] [16] Female gross enrollment rate was at only 21.9 % and male gross enrollment rate at 29.0 % in 2007. [17]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Djibouti". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 2007-09-06. Retrieved 2007-09-18. 
  2. ^ Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division (2009) (.PDF). World Population Prospects, Table A.1. 2008 revision. United Nations. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Djibouti". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  4. ^ Human Development Report 2009. The United Nations. Retrieved 5 October 2009
  5. ^ "DJIBOUTI: Guelleh sworn in for second presidential term". Retrieved December 4, 2005. 
  6. ^ Djibouti: a new army behind the wire, Le Monde diplomatique, February 2003 (English) (+ (French)/(Portuguese))
  7. ^ Djibouti drought threatens 30,000 with grave food shortages, 29 April 2005, World Food Programme. Retrieved August 4, 2007.
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^
  10. ^ CIA World Factbook – Djibouti
  11. ^ the World Factbook
  12. ^ [accessed 13 December 2009 Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, "Djibouti: Situation and treatment of Christians, including instances of discrimination or violence; effectiveness of recourse available in cases of mistreatment; problems that a Muslim can face if he or she converts to Christianity or marries a Christian (2000–2009)", 5 August 2009
  13. ^ "Image of Djibouti women in head-dresses". Retrieved April 5, 2008. 
  14. ^ a b "Hare, Harry (2007) ICT in Education in Djibouti, World Bank". 
  15. ^ "Hare, Harry (2007) ICT in Education in Djibouti, World Bank". 
  16. ^ "". 
  17. ^

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the CIA World Factbook.

Further reading

  • Djibouti: Pawn of the Horn of Africa Robert Saint-Veran
  • Historical Dictionary of Djibouti Daoud A. Alwan
  • Naval Strategy East of Suez: The Role of Djibouti Charles W

External links

General information
News media
  • allAfrica news headline links
  • DjibNet daily press review in French and English

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Africa : East Africa : Djibouti
Quick Facts
Capital Djibouti
Government republic
Currency Djiboutian franc (DJF)
Area 23,000 sq km
Population 486,530 (July 2006 est.)
Language French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar
Religion Muslim 94%, Christian 6%
Electricity 220/240V 50HzHz
Calling Code +253
Internet TLD .dj
Time Zone UTC +3

Djibouti[1] is in East Africa, bordered by Eritrea to the north, Ethiopia to the west and south, and Somalia to the southeast. The Gulf of Aden lies to the east. The country can be divided into three regions; the coastal plain and volcanic plateaus in the central and southern parts of the country and the mountain ranges in the north. Much of the country is vast wasteland with virtually no arable land.


Djibouti's climate is very hot, humid and arid, especially in the summer. The summer heat is moderated, however, by a sustained breeze in the coastal city of Djibouti. From October to April the temperature is cooler, with occasional rain. Cyclones from the Indian Ocean create heavy rains and flash flooding.


Djibouti is divided into five regions and one city:

  • Ali Sabieh Region - (Region d'Ali Sabieh)
  • Arta Region - (Region d'Arta)
  • Dikhil Region - (Region de Dikhil)
  • Djibouti (city) - (Ville de Djibouti)
  • Obock Region - (Region d'Obock)
  • Tadjourah Region - (Region de Tadjourah)

The regions are further subdivided into 15 districts.

Map of Djibouti
Map of Djibouti

Get in

Visas are required by all nationals except those of France. Transit visas are valid for 10 days and are available on arrival to nationals of the European Union, Scandinavian countries and the USA for 5000 FDJ (about USD $28). Visas can be obtained from neighbouring countries and where no Djibouti embassy exists, they can often be obtained from the French embassy. The types of visas include: Entry (visa de séjour); Tourist (visa de tourisme); Business (visa d’affaires); and Transit (visa de transit).

By plane

Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport (JIB) connects Djibouti with Paris and London in Europe. It also has flights to Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Puntland, Somaliland, Tanzania, Egypt, Madagascar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen. Djibouti-based Daallo Airlines (D3) (website: operates flights to Paris and services to Ethiopia, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and Somalia. The airport is 5km (3 miles) south of the city.

By train

There is a railway between Djibouti City and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, renovated in 2004. It is a journey of more than 700km that takes around 24 hours, with a stop about halfway in Dire Dawa. Reservations are strongly recommended. The Djibouti–Ethiopian Railway operates regular trains between Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa with one train daily connecting with Djibouti; in theory, tourists and businesspeople can use this service (for which they should book first-class tickets only), but it is not recommended as trains are fairly unreliable and the volatile security situation in Ethiopia is causing considerable risks to all travelers.

By car

There are roads from Djibouti to Assab (Eritrea) and going west into Ethiopia via Dikhil. Travelers using them should be aware that road conditions are generally poor and personal security might be at risk when traveling – particularly to Ethiopia. Visitors are advised to check transit regulations as political conditions in Ethiopia and Eritrea are changeable. Currently, there are no problems with traveling to Eritrea and no formal border posts. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended for the interior. There is a new highway from Djibouti to Tadjoura. Traffic drives on the right. It is advisable to carry water and petrol on any expedition off main routes. An International Driving Permit is recommended, although not legally required. A temporary license to drive is available from local authorities on presentation of a valid British or Northern Ireland driving license.

By bus

Buses operate from Djibouti to most towns and villages throughout the country. Buses leave when they are full. A minibus service operates in Djibouti, stopping on demand. A flat-fare system is used.

By boat

Ferry services sail daily from L'Escale (Djibouti) to Tadjoura and Obock. The journey takes about three hours.

Get around

Taxis are available in Djibouti and from the airport to the town; also in Ali-Sabieh, Dikhil, Dorale and Arta. Fares can increase by 50 percent after dark.

Bicycling is a great way to get around the small capital.


Although French and Arabic are the official languages, Somali and Afar are widely spoken. English may be spoken at tourist facilities, but is not widely spoken by locals or taxi drivers.


Khat: A leafy narcotic popular with the locals. The stimulant is flown into the country each morning from Ethiopia and arrives by truck in Djibouti's Central Market at about 1 p.m. It is fairly inexpensive, but quality varies greatly, so shop with caution. Khat may not be taken out of Djibouti through the airport.

  • Melting Pot, Heron Rue Bernard, +253 35 03 99, [2]. Fusion Cuisine Restaurant Japanese-Greek-French  edit


Located on a peninsula, the Djibouti Sheraton is a beachfront resort, with its own beach club on a private island. The hotel offers a range of recreational activities including snorkeling, windsurfing, water skiing, biking, volleyball and other beach sports at the Sheraton Beach Club.

A little north of downtown Djibouti, the Djibouti Palace Kempinski opened in November 2006 to host a regional summit. Funded by Dubai's Nakheel investment group, the Kempinski offers security, high-class service, immaculate facilities, and serene views of the Gulf of Tadjoura. Very expensive.

Stay safe

Natural hazards include earthquakes and droughts. Occasional cyclonic disturbances from the Indian Ocean bring heavy rains and flash floods.

Visitors should be aware of the risk of banditry if traveling outside the capital city.

Stay healthy

Health insurance is advisable. Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for any medical treatment. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over one year of age coming from infected areas. Cholera is also a serious risk and precautions are essential. Up-to-date advice should be sought before deciding if these precautions should include vaccination as medical opinion is divided over its effectiveness. Typhoid immunization is usually advised. Malaria risk, predominantly in the malignant falciparum form, exists year round. Resistance to chloroquine has been reported. Mefloquine, doxycycline or atovaquone/proguanil are recommended.

The adult HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is currently over 3% or 1 in 33 adults. Protect yourself.


Casual wear is widely acceptable, but visitors are reminded that Djibouti is a Muslim country and certain codes of behavior should be observed. Shorts are generally not appropriate outside of hotels, beaches, or sport activities.


The 13th French Foreign Legion Demi-Brigadeis (13ème DBLE), permanently stationed in Djibouti, consists of about 800 men. They can be contacted by the following address:

adresse postale 13ème DBLE - Djibouti Quartier MONCLAR SP 85030 00815 ARMEES

There is also a 2,000 person plus U.S. military presence in Djibouti, located at Camp Lemonier across the runway from the international airport.

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:




Proper noun




  1. Country in Eastern Africa, official name: Republic of Djibouti
  2. The capital city of Djibouti.


See also


Finnish Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia fi

Proper noun


  1. Djibouti



Proper noun


  1. Djibouti

See also


Proper noun


  1. Djibouti

Simple English

[[File:|right|]] Djibouti is a country in Africa. Djibouti gained its independence on June 27, 1977. The country was created out of the French Somaliland (later called the French Territory of the Afars and Issas), which was created in the 1800s as a result of French colonialism in Africa. However, the history of Djibouti goes back thousands of years when it was part of the Sabean Empire (Ethiopia) to a time when Djiboutians traded hides and skins for the perfumes and spices of ancient Egypt, Pakistan, and China. Through close contacts with the Arabian peninsula for more than 1,000 years, the Somali and Afar tribes in this region became among the first on the African continent to accept Islam. Djibouti is a Muslim country which regularly takes part in Islamic as well as Arab meetings. Djibouti used to be Ethiopian territory before french accupation after it got its independence. Djibouiti decided to be a country of its own with good friendship with its neighbouring country of Ethiopia.

The country is close to a narrow part of the Red Sea so it is considered an important area from a military viewpoint.

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