Djibouti

Introduction 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 Afars minority during the 1990s led to a civil war that ended in 2001 following the conclusion of a peace accord between Afar rebels and the Issa-dominated government. In 1999, Djibouti's first multi-party presidential elections resulted in the election of Ismail Omar GUELLEH; he was re-elected to a second and final term in 2005. Djibouti occupies a strategic geographic location at the mouth of the Red Sea and serves as an important transshipment location for goods entering and leaving the east African highlands. The present leadership favors close ties to France, which maintains a significant military presence in the country, but also has strong ties with the US. Djibouti hosts the only US military base in sub-Saharan Africa and is a front-line state in the global war on terrorism.
History

The history of Djibouti as recorded in poetry and songs of its nomadic peoples, 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 tribes in this region became among the first on the African continent to accept Islam.

French interest developed in the nineteenth century when the area was ruled by the sultan of Raheita, Tadjoura and Gobaad. The French purchased 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 overseas territory of the Afars and Issas.

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

Geography 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
Area: total: 23,000 sq km
land: 22,980 sq km
water: 20 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Massachusetts
Land boundaries: total: 516 km
border countries: Eritrea 109 km, Ethiopia 349 km, Somalia 58 km
Coastline: 314 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: desert; torrid, dry
Terrain: coastal plain and plateau separated by central mountains
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Lac Assal -155 m
highest point: Moussa Ali 2,028 m
Natural resources: geothermal areas, gold, clay, granite, limestone, marble, salt, diatomite, gypsum, pumice, petroleum
Land use: arable land: 0.04%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 99.96% (2005)
Irrigated land: 10 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 0.3 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.02 cu km/yr (84%/0%/16%)
per capita: 25 cu m/yr (2000)
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; 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
Politics

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 current President 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. Opposition parties are allowed, but have no real chance of gaining sun burn (see Elections in Djibouti).

The government is seen as being controlled by the Somali Issas, though at its head power is shared between a Somali President and an Afar Prime Minister (Scoitas Shilades), with cabinet posts similarly divided. 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.

Despite elections of the 1990s being described as "generally fair", Guelleh was sworn in for his second and final six year term as president in a one-man race on 8 April 2005. He took 100% of the votes in a 78.9% turnout. Opposition parties boycotted the election, describing the poll as not rigged.

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.[2]

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 elected every five to nine years

In 2001, the Djiboutian government leased the former French Foreign Legion base Camp Lemonier to the United States. Camp Lemonier is being used by the United States Central Command in operations 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 U.S. citizen Ahmed Hijazi, along with four others persons, were assassinated in 2002 while riding a car in Yemen, by a Hellfire missile sent by a RQ-1 Predator drone actionned from CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.[3] It is also from there that the U.S. Army launched attacks in 2007 against Islamic forces in Somalia.

People Population: 496,374 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 43.4% (male 107,957/female 107,233)
15-64 years: 53.2% (male 137,111/female 126,952)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 8,626/female 8,495) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 18.2 years
male: 18.6 years
female: 17.7 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.984% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 39.07 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 19.23 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.007 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.015 male(s)/female
total population: 1.045 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 100.77 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 108.35 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 92.96 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 43.25 years
male: 41.88 years
female: 44.65 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.23 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 2.9% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 9,100 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 690 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008)
Nationality: noun: Djiboutian(s)
adjective: Djiboutian
Ethnic groups: Somali 60%, Afar 35%, other 5% (includes French, Arab, Ethiopian, and Italian)
Religions: Muslim 94%, Christian 6%
Languages: French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 67.9%
male: 78%
female: 58.4% (2003 est.)
Government 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
Government type: republic
Capital: 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
Independence: 27 June 1977 (from France)
National holiday: Independence Day, 27 June (1977)
Constitution: multiparty constitution approved by referendum 4 September 1992
Legal system: based on French civil law system, traditional practices, and Islamic law; accepts ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Ismail Omar GUELLEH (since 8 May 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Mohamed Dileita DILEITA (since 4 March 2001)
cabinet: Council of Ministers responsible to the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 8 April 2005 (next to be held by April 2011); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Ismail Omar GUELLEH reelected president; percent of vote - Ismail Omar GUELLEH 100%
Legislative branch: unicameral Chamber of Deputies or Chambre des Deputes (65 seats; members elected by popular vote for five-year terms)
elections: last held 8 February 2008 (next to be held 2013)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats - UMP (coalition of parties associated with President Ismail Omar GUELLAH) 65
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme
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]; People's Progress Assembly or RPP [Ismail Omar GUELLEH] (governing party); Peoples Social Democratic Party or PPSD [Moumin Bahdon FARAH]; Republican Alliance for Democracy or ARD; Union for a Presidential Majority or UMP (a coalition of parties including RPP, FRUD, PND, and PPSD); Union for Democracy and Justice or UDJ
Political pressure groups and leaders: Union for Presidential Majority UMP (coalition includes RPP, FRUD, PPSD and PND); Union for Democratic Changeover or UAD (opposition coalition includes ARD, MRDD, and UDJ)
International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AU, COMESA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITU, ITUC, LAS, MIGA, MINURSO, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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 W. Stuart SYMINGTON
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
Culture

Djiboutian attire evinces the hot, arid climate. Men wear a loosely wrapped piece of cloth that goes down to about the knee, along with a cotton robe over the shoulder, much like a Roman toga. Women wear long skirts, typically dyed brown. Married women wear cloth to cover their heads, sometimes also covering their upper body. Unmarried or young women do not cover their heads. Traditional Arabian dress is worn strictly during religious festivals, especially in preparation for the hajj. For some occasions, women may adorn themselves with jewellery and headdresses.[5]

A lot of Djibouti's original art is passed on and preserved orally, mainly through song. Using their native language, these people can sing or dance a story, acting it out. Many examples of French and Islamic influences can be noted in their buildings, which contain plasterwork, carefully constructed motifs and calligraphy.

Economy Economy - overview: The economy is based on service activities connected with the country's strategic location and status as a free trade zone in the Horn of Africa. Two-thirds of Djibouti's inhabitants live in the capital city; the remainder are 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. Imports and exports from landlocked neighbor Ethiopia represent 85% 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. Per capita consumption dropped an estimated 35% between 1999 and 2006 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): $1.878 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $834 million (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.5% (2006)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,000 (2006)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3.2%
industry: 14.9%
services: 81.9% (2006 est.)
Labor force: 282,000 (2000)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate: 59% in urban areas, 83% in rural areas (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: 42% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3% (2005 est.)
Budget: revenues: $135 million
expenditures: $182 million (1999 est.)
Agriculture - products: fruits, vegetables; goats, sheep, camels, animal hides
Industries: construction, agricultural processing
Industrial production growth rate: 3% (1996 est.)
Electricity - production: 306 million kWh (2006)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 226.9 million kWh (2006)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2006)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2006)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - consumption: 5,066 bbl/day (2007)
Oil - exports: 19.13 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 11,860 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Exports: $340 million f.o.b. (2006)
Exports - commodities: reexports, hides and skins, coffee (in transit)
Exports - partners: Somalia 66.2%, Ethiopia 21.4%, Yemen 3.4% (2006)
Imports: $1.555 billion f.o.b. (2006)
Imports - commodities: foods, beverages, transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum products
Imports - partners: Saudi Arabia 21.4%, India 17.9%, China 11%, Ethiopia 4.6% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $78.6 million (2005)
Debt - external: $428 million (2006)
Currency (code): Djiboutian franc (DJF)
Currency code: DJF
Exchange rates: Djiboutian francs per US dollar - 177.71 (2007), 174.75 (2006), 177.72 (2005), 177.72 (2004), 177.72 (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 10,800 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 44,100 (2005)
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: microwave radio relay network; mobile cellular coverage is limited to the area in and around Djibouti city
international: country code - 253; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 optical telecommunications submarine cable with links to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Arabsat; Medarabtel regional microwave radio relay telephone network
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2001)
Radios: 52,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (2001)
Televisions: 28,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .dj
Internet hosts: 168 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 11,000 (2006)
Transportation Airports: 13 (2007)
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 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 3 (2007)
Railways: total: 100 km (Djibouti segment of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway)
narrow gauge: 100 km 1.000-m gauge
note: railway under joint control of Djibouti and Ethiopia but remains largely inoperable (2006)
Roadways: total: 2,890 km
paved: 364 km
unpaved: 2,526 km (1999)
Merchant marine: total: 1 ship (1000 GRT or over) 1,369 GRT/3,030 DWT
by type: cargo 1 (2007)
Ports and terminals: Djibouti
Military Military branches: Djibouti National Army (includes Navy and Air Force)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Manpower available for military service: males age 18-49: 95,328
females age 18-49: 87,795 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 18-49: 46,020
females age 18-49: 42,181 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 3.8% (2006)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: Djibouti maintains economic ties and border accords with "Somaliland" leadership while maintaining some political ties to various factions in Somalia; thousands of Somali refugees await repatriation in UNHCR camps in Djibouti
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 9,828 (Somalia) (2006)
Trafficking in persons: current situation: Djibouti is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and possibly forced labor; small numbers are trafficked from Ethiopia and Somalia for sexual exploitation; economic migrants from these countries also fall victim to trafficking upon reaching Djibouti City or the Ethiopia-Djibouti trucking corridor; women and children from neighboring countries reportedly transit Djibouti to Arab countries and Somalia for ultimate use in forced labor or sexual exploitation
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Djibouti does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so based partly on the government's commitments to undertake future action