Djibouti is a small country in the North Eastern region of Africa that borders the Red Sea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea.
Photo by Saraab
The area presently marked as the geographical boundaries of Djibouti had for years been a point of interest and attempted conquest by a number of foreign nations. This is mainly due to the country’s ample location off the gulf of Aden and its key position along the busy trade routes. French interest in the area began in the 19th Century and by 1862, there was an established presence in Djibouti. It became a French colony in 1896 and part of the French Union in 1946. In 1967, the colony was renamed the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas. Djibouti attained its independence on the 27th of June 1977.
Hassan Gouled Aptidon the first President of the independent Djibouti established a single party state and ruled the country until 1999. Starting in the early 1990s, the country was faced with civil conflict between government forces and Afar Rebels. A peace treaty was signed in 2001 bringing an end to the conflict. Political reforms took place in the country to allow for a multi-party democracy. In 1999, the first multi-party elections were held, won by President Ismail Omar Guelleh. source:http://www.africaprofile.com/djibouti-history.html
Djibouti's economy depends largely on its proximity to the large Ethiopian market and a large foreign expatriate community. Much of the country's economic potential depends on its transport and service sectors. Its main economic activities are the Port of Djibouti, the banking sector, the airport, and the operation of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad.
During the "lost decade" following the brunt of its civil war (1991-94), there was a significant diversion of government budgetary resources from developmental and social services to military needs. However, from 2001 on, Djibouti has become a magnet for private sector capital investment, attracting inflows that now average more than $200 million. It has also significantly improved its finances, paying current salaries, maintaining reserves, and generating a growth rate in 2006 of approximately 4.5%. Djibouti has become a significant regional banking hub, with approximately $600 million in dollar deposits. Its currency, the Djiboutian Franc, was linked to the dollar (and to gold) in 1949 and appreciated twice over the interim when the dollar was devalued and then freed to float. Agriculture and industry are little developed, in part due to the harsh climate, high production costs, unskilled labor, and limited natural resources. Mineral deposits exist in the country, but with the exception of an extraordinary salt deposit at Lac Asal, the lowest point in Africa, they have not been exploited. The arid soil is unproductive--89% is desert wasteland, 10% is pasture, and 1% is forested. Deforestation for charcoal is a significant problem, as it now replaces expensive imported cooking gas in many urban homes. Services and commerce provide most of the gross domestic product.
Djibouti's most important economic asset is its strategic location on the busy shipping route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. Roughly 60% of all commercial ships in the world use its waters from the Red Sea through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait and into the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Its old port is an increasingly important transshipment point for containers as well as a destination port for Ethiopian trade. Last year alone, private investment in the old port totaled approximately $50 million. Djibouti is now in the second of three phases of a multi-year, $800 million, privately-financed project to build a new port with fueling, container, and free zone components. The old port will continue serving as a general shipping, bulk cargo, and break-bulk facility and also as the host of a small French naval facility.
FEEL AT HOME AND HAVE FUN IN DJIBOUTI
Photos by Keo Younger
DJIBOUTI FUN FACTS
- Kilimanjaro (19,340 feet [5,895 metres]) is the highest point on the continent; the lowest is Lake Assal (515 feet [157 metres] below sea level) in Djibouti.
- Djibouti is the most urbanized country in sub-Saharan Africa, with some four-fifths of the population classified as urban.
Take a dive and simply soak in the sun in the pristine coastal waters in Djibouti.
FORE MORE INFORMATION AND SOURCES OF THE ABOVE TEXT
Djibouti Guide http://www.djibnet.com/news/
Tourism Office http://www.office-tourisme.dj/
Republique De Djibouti
CCFAR is a center of art and culture an institution of the French embassy. http://www.ccfar-djibouti.com/
Djibouti's Central Bank. http://www.banque-centrale.dj/
Djibouti Telecom http://www.adjib.dj/