Monday, April 21, 2008


Independence: 27 June 1977 from France
  • Capital: Djibouti
  • Population: 496,374

Djibouti is a small country in the North Eastern region of Africa that borders the Red Sea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea.


About two-thirds of the Republic of Djibouti's 650,000 inhabitants live in the capital city. The indigenous population is divided between the majority Somalis (predominantly of the Issa tribe, with minority Issaq and Gadabursi representation) and the Afars (Danakils). All are Cushitic-speaking peoples, and nearly all are Muslim. Among the 15,000 foreigners residing in Djibouti, the French are the most numerous. Among the French are 3,000 troops.Djibouti also has a large population of refugees from neighboring Somalia and Ethiopia. Arabic and French are the official languages of Djibouti though Afar and Somali are widely spoken.

photos by candido33


photo by Comfort Food Vegan

Djibouti cuisine is largely influenced by Arab and French culinary art. Common foods in the country include; fresh seafood, lentils, meat. Alcohol consumption is not popular due the Islam influence in the country. For Djibouti food recipes visit


President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti
Photo by Saraab

Early Djibouti:

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.

Independent Djibouti:

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:

President George W. Bush and President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti greet the press during a meeting in the Oval Office Jan. 21, 2003. White House photo by Paul Morse

In the presidential election held April 8, 2005 Ismail Omar Guelleh was re-elected to a second 6-year term at the head of a multi-party coalition that included the FRUD and other major parties. A loose coalition of opposition parties again boycotted the election. Currently, political power is shared by a Somali president and an Afar prime minister, with an Afar career diplomat as Foreign Minister and other cabinet posts roughly divided. However, Issas are predominate in the government, civil service, and the ruling party. That, together with a shortage of non-government employment, has bred resentment and continued political competition between the Somali Issas and the Afars.

Djibouti President Ismael Omar Guelleh greets the crowd before a military parade 27 June 2007, marking the 30th anniversary of Djibouti's Independence in Djibouti city. French and US troops stationned in Djibouti took part in the parade. Djibouti became independent from France 27 June 1977


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.

Charles De Gualle in Djibouti (French Somalia) in 1966

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.


The main airport in the Country is the Ambouli International airport in the nation’s capital Djibouti. This airport is home to local airline Djibouti Airlines and is also served by a number of airlines providing frequent flights to international destinations.The Tourism industry in Djibouti is not as developed as the major tourism destinations within the African continent. The Country however prides itself of its unsoiled and less crowded beaches and the picturesque country provides the intrepid travellor with an array of attractions and recreational activities such as the ravines, lakes and plains.



Photos by Keo Younger

Djibouti Canyon

Devils Island


Lake Asal (Lake Assal) is a crater lake in central Djibouti, located at the southern border of Tadjoura Region, touching Dikhil Region. As there are no rivers flowing out of the lake, it is ten times saltier than the ocean and it is the most saline body of water in the world.

Lime stone mountain in Lac Assal


  • 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.

Lac Abbe



Djibouti Guide
Tourism Office
Republique De Djibouti
CCFAR is a center of art and culture an institution of the French embassy.
Djibouti's Central Bank.
Djibouti Telecom


Diving in Djibouti Video


Service presse de la presidence Official Djibouti government news

Djibouti Television - RTD the state-run TV and Radio station (in French).