The World Factbook (1990)/Djibouti


World Factbook (1990) Djibouti.jpg

 See regional map VII


Total area: 22,000 km²; land area: 21,980 km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than Massachusetts

Land boundaries: 517 km total; Ethiopia 459 km, Somalia 58 km

Coastline: 314 km

Maritime claims:

Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: possible claim by Somalia based on unification of ethnic Somalis

Climate: desert; torrid, dry

Terrain: coastal plain and plateau separated by central mountains

Natural resources: geothermal areas

Land use: 0% arable land; 0% permanent crops; 9% meadows and pastures; NEGL% forest and woodland; 91% other

Environment: vast wasteland

Note: strategic location near world's busiest shipping lanes and close to Arabian oilfields; terminus of rail traffic into Ethiopia


Population: 337,386 (July 1990), growth rate 2.6% (1990)

Birth rate: 43 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 17 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 119 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 46 years male, 49 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 6.4 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Djiboutian(s); adjective—Djiboutian

Ethnic divisions: 60% Somali (Issa); 35% Afar, 5% French, Arab, Ethiopian, and Italian

Religion: 94% Muslim, 6% Christian

Language: French (official); Arabic, Somali, and Afar widely used

Literacy: 20%

Labor force: NA, but a small number of semiskilled laborers at the port and 3,000 railway workers; 52% of population of working age (1983)

Organized labor: 3,000 railway workers


Long-form name: Republic of Djibouti

Type: republic

Capital: Djibouti

Administrative divisions: 5 districts (cercles, singular—cercle); 'Ali Sahih, Dikhil, Djibouti, Obock, Tadjoura

Independence: 27 June 1977 (from France; formerly French Territory of the Afars and Issas)

Constitution: partial constitution ratified January 1981 by the Chamber of Deputies

Legal system: based on French civil law system, traditional practices, and Islamic law

National holiday: Independence Day, 27 June (1977)

Executive branch: president, prime minister, Council of Ministers

Legislative branch: Chamber of Deputies (Chambre des Députés)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Suprême)

Leaders: Chief of State—President Hassan GOULED Aptidon (since 24 June 1977);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Barkat GOURAD Hamadou (since 30 September 1978)

Political parties and leaders: only party—People's Progress Assembly (RPP), Hassan Gouled Aptidon

Suffrage: universal adult at age NA

Elections: President—last held 24 April 1987 (next to be held April 1993); results—President Hassan Gouled Aptidon was reelected without opposition;

Chamber of Deputies—last held 24 April 1987 (next to be held April 1992); results—RPP is the only party; seats—(65 total) RPP 65

Communists: NA

Member of: ACP, AfDB, Arab League, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB—Islamic Development Bank, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, INTERPOL, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, UN, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Roble OLHAYE; Chancery (temporary) at the Djiboutian Permanent Mission to the UN; 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 4011, New York, NY 10017; telephone (212) 753-3163; US—Ambassador Robert S. BARRETT IV; Embassy at Villa Plateau du Serpent Boulevard, Marechal Joffre, Djibouti (mailing address is B. P. 185, Djibouti); telephone [253] 35-38-49 or 35-39-95, 35-29-16, 35-29-17

Flag: 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


Overview: The economy is based on service activities connected with the country's strategic location and status as a free trade zone. 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 over 50% continues to be a major problem.

GNP: $333 million, $1,070 per capita; real growth rate -0.7% (1986)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8.0% (1987)

Unemployment rate: over 50% (1987)

Budget: revenues $117 million; expenditures $163 billion, including capital expenditures of $52 million (1987 est.)

Exports: $128 million (f.o.b., 1986); commodities—hides and skins, coffee (in transit); partners—Middle East 50%, Africa 43%, Western Europe 7%

Imports: $198 million (f.o.b., 1986); commodities—foods, beverages, transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum products; partners—EC 36%, Africa 21%, Bahrain 14%, Asia 12%, US 2%

External debt: $250 million (December 1988)

Industrial production: growth rate -1.6% (1986)

Electricity: 110,000 kW capacity; 190 million kWh produced, 580 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: limited to a few small-scale enterprises, such as dairy products and mineral-water bottling

Agriculture: accounts for 30% of GDP; scanty rainfall limits crop production to mostly fruit and vegetables; half of population pastoral nomads herding goats, sheep, and camels; imports bulk of food needs

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY78-88), $36 million; Western (non-US) countries, including ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $962 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $149 million; Communist countries (1970-88), $35 million

Currency: Djiboutian franc (plural—francs); 1 Djiboutian franc (DF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Djiboutian francs (DF) per US$1—177.721 (fixed rate since 1973)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: the Ethiopian-Djibouti railroad extends for 97 km through Djibouti

Highways: 2,900 km total; 280 km bituminous surface, 2,620 km improved or unimproved earth (1982)

Ports: Djibouti

Civil air: 2 major transport aircraft

Airports: 12 total, 9 usable; none with runways over 3,659 m; 1 with permanent-surface runways; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 4 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: fair system of urban facilities in Djibouti and radio relay stations at outlying places; 7,300 telephones; stations—2 AM, 1 FM, 2 TV; 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT earth station and 1 ARABSAT; 1 submarine cable to Saudi Arabia

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force; paramilitary National Security Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 88,132; 51,260 fit for military service

Defense expenditures: $29.9 million, 23% of central government budget (1986)