macrohistory & world report

The Republic of Djibouti

Republic of Djibouti

The small African nation-state of Djibouti (capital Djibouti) and neighboring nation-states

World Factbook: "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 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 re-exports - 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 unemployment rate of nearly 60% continues to be a major problem. While inflation is not a concern, due to the fixed tie of the Djiboutian franc to the US dollar, the artificially high value of the Djiboutian franc adversely affects Djibouti's balance of payments. Djibouti holds foreign reserves amounting to less than six months of import coverage. Djibouti has experienced relatively minimal impact from the global economic downturn, but its reliance on diesel-generated electricity and imported food leave average consumers vulnerable to global price shocks. President GUELLEH in 2013 told international investors that Djibouti's development plan is to increase its prominence in financial and communication sectors."

Export partners
2010: Somalia 80.4%, Yemen 4.1%, Egypt 4.1%, UAE 4%

Export/import ratio
2010: exports $80/4 million, imports $471.3 million

Health expenditures
2009: 6.4% of GDP


Population: 810,179 (July 2014 est.)

Births / deaths per 1,000 population
2014: 24.08 / 7.84

Infant mortality rate:
2014: 50.2 deaths per 1,000 live births
39th highest in the world.

Life expectancy at birth:
2014: 62.4 years

Living in an urban area
2010: 76%

Ethnic groups
Somali 60%, Afar 35%, other 5% (includes French, Arab, Ethiopian, and Italian)

Muslim 94%, Christian 6%

Net migration rate
2012: Net loss of 6.02 persons per 1,000 population per year


East Africa, south of Somalia, bordering the Red Sea. Slightly smaller than Massachusetts. Desert.


President elected by popular vote for a five-year term; president is eligible to hold office until age 75. Unicameral Chamber of Deputies or Chambre des Deputes (65 seats); members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms); note - constitutional amendments in 2010 provided for the establishment of a senate.

Recent History

Known as French Somaliland before it became independent in 1977. Civil war between ethnicities in the 1990s ended in 2001.

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.