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  • 3711
  • Date :
  • 7/9/2003


The French Territory of the Afars and the Issas became Djibouti in 1977. A peace accord in 1994 ended a three-year uprising by Afars rebels.



Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, between Eritrea and Somalia

Geographic coordinates:

11 30 N, 43 00 E


Total: 23,000 sq km
water: 20 sq km
land: 22,980 sq km



472,810 (July 2002 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.59% (2002 est.)


Noun: Djiboutian(s)
adjective: Djiboutian

Ethnic groups:

Antalote, Cafre, Makoa, Oimatsaha, Sakalava


French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar


The economy 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. 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. 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. An unemployment rate of 50% continues to be a major problem. Inflation is not a concern, however, because of the fixed tie of the franc to the US 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). 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. Another factor limiting growth is the negative impact on port activity now that Ethiopia has more trade route options.


Construction, agricultural processing

Agriculture products

: Fruits, vegetables; goats, sheep, camels


Telephones main lines in use:

10,000 (2002) 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
international: submarine cable to Jiddah, Suez, Sicily, Marseilles, Colombo, and Singapore; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Arabsat; Medarabtel regional microwave radio relay telephone network


:52,000 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):

1 (2000)

Internet users:

3,300 (2002)



Total: 100 km (Djibouti segment of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad)
narrow gauge: 100 km 1.000-m gauge
note:Djibouti and Ethiopia plan to revitalize the century-old railroad that links their capitals by 2003 (2001 est.)


Total: 2,890 km
paved: 364 km
unpaved: 2,526 km (1996)


12 (2001)


Country name:

Conventional long form:Republic ofDjibouti
conventional short form: Djibouti
former:FrenchTerritory of the Afars and Issas, French Somaliland

Government type

: Republic


: Djibouti

Administrative divisions:

5 districts (cercles, singular - cercle); 'Ali Sabih, Dikhil, Djibouti, Obock, Tadjoura


27 June 1977 (from France)


Multiparty constitution approved by referendum 4 September 1992

Legal system:

Based on French civil law system, traditional practices, and Islamic law

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Ismail Omar GUELLEH (since 8 May 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister DILEITA Mohamed Dileita (since 4 March 2001)
cabinet: Council of Ministers responsible to the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 9 April 1999 (next to be held NA 2005); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Ismail Omar GUELLEH elected president; percent of vote - Ismail Omar GUELLEH 74.4%, IDRIS Moussa Ahmed 25.6%

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]; Front pour la Restauration de l'Unite Democratique or FRUD [Ali Mohamed DAOUD]; People's Progress Assembly or RPP (governing party) [Ismail Omar GUELLEH]


Muslim 94%, Christian 6%


In 1888 the French started buildingDjibouti City on the southern shore of the Gulf of Tadjoura, a region that had mostly been settled by Somalis. French Somaliland began to take shape. Djibouti was soon designated the official outlet of Ethiopian commerce, and the French-built Djibouti-Addis Ababa railway became - and remains - of vital strategic and commercial importance to the Ethiopians.
The Issas demonstrated against the colonial powers in 1949, agitating for reunification of Italian, British and French Somaliland and the expulsion of all colonial powers. The Afars supported French rule, so not surprisingly the French favored them, putting Ali Aref and his fellow Afars in control of local government. A 60% vote for continued French rule in 1967 was achieved largely by the massive expulsion of ethnic Somalis and the arrest of opposition leaders, and caused serious riots in the capital. Colonial authorities conceded something needed to be done, so they changed the colony's name to the 'French Territory of the Afars and Issas', hoping that would do the job. Ali Aref and his party were on the nose by 1976, following further huge demonstrations in support of the opposition. Aref resigned, andFrance reluctantly granted independence the following year. The People's Progress Assembly (RPP), led by Hassan Gouled Aptidon, won the elections, and Hassan Gouled became president. Djibouti was the last French colony on the African mainland to win independence.

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