Djiboutian, adj., n.
/ji booh"tee/, n.
1. Formerly, French Somaliland, French Territory of the Afars and Issas. a republic in E Africa, on the Gulf of Aden: a former overseas territory of France; gained independence 1977. 434,116; 8492 sq. mi. (21,994 sq. km). Cap.: Djibouti.
2. a seaport in and the capital of this republic, in the SE part. 399,000.
Also, Jibuti.

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Introduction Djibouti -
Background: 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. Geography Djibouti
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 water: 20 sq km land: 22,980 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: contiguous zone: 24 NM exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 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
Land use: arable land: 0% permanent crops: 0% other: 100% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 10 sq km (1998 est.)
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; desertification; endangered species Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution 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 People Djibouti -
Population: 472,810 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 42.6% (male 100,903; female 100,420) 15-64 years: 54.5% (male 135,409; female 122,209) 65 years and over: 2.9% (male 7,220; female 6,649) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.59% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 40.33 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 14.43 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.11 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 1.09 male(s)/ female total population: 1.06 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 99.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 51.6 years female: 53.52 years (2002 est.) male: 49.73 years
Total fertility rate: 5.64 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 11.75% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 37,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 4,400 (2002 est.)
Nationality: noun: Djiboutian(s) adjective: Djiboutian
Ethnic groups: Somali 60%, Afar 35%, French, Arab, Ethiopian, and Italian 5%
Religions: Muslim 94%, Christian 6%
Languages: French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 46.2% male: 60.3% female: 32.7% (1995 est.) Government Djibouti -
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Djibouti conventional short form: Djibouti former: French Territory of the Afars and Issas, French Somaliland
Government type: republic
Capital: Djibouti Administrative divisions: 5 districts (cercles, singular - cercle); 'Ali Sabih, Dikhil, Djibouti, Obock, Tadjoura
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
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal adult
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 December 2002); 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%
Legislative branch: unicameral Chamber of Deputies or Chambre des Deputes (65 seats; members elected by popular vote for five-year terms) elections: last held 19 December 1997 (next to be held NA December 2002) election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - RPP 64, FRUD 11; note - RPP (the ruling party) dominated the election
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] Political pressure groups and Movement for Unity and Democracy or
leaders: MUD International organization ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF,
participation: ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WToO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador ROBLE Olhaye Oudine FAX: [1] (202) 331-0302 telephone: [1] (202) 331-0270 chancery: Suite 515, 1156 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador Donald
US: YAMAMOTO 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 Economy Djibouti
Economy - overview: 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.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $586 million (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 0% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,400 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3% industry: 10% services: 87% (2001 est.) Population below poverty line: 50% (2001 est.) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 282,000 Labor force - by occupation: NA%
Unemployment rate: 50% (2000 est.)
Budget: revenues: $135 million expenditures: $182 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.)
Industries: construction, agricultural processing Industrial production growth rate: 3% (1996 est.) Electricity - production: 180 million kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 167.4 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: fruits, vegetables; goats, sheep, camels
Exports: $260 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.)
Exports - commodities: reexports, hides and skins, coffee (in transit)
Exports - partners: Somalia 53%, Yemen 23%, Ethiopia 5% (1998)
Imports: $440 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.)
Imports - commodities: foods, beverages, transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum products
Imports - partners: France 13%, Ethiopia 12%, Italy 9%, Saudi Arabia 6%, UK 6% (1998)
Debt - external: $366 million (2002 est.) Economic aid - recipient: $36 million (2001)
Currency: Djiboutian franc (DJF)
Currency code: DJF
Exchange rates: Djiboutian francs per US dollar - 177.721 (fixed rate since 1973)
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Djibouti - Telephones - main lines in use: 10,000 (2002) Telephones - mobile cellular: NA (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 Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2001)
Radios: 52,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 1 (2002)
Televisions: 28,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .dj Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 1,400 (2000) Transportation Djibouti -
Railways: 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.)
Highways: total: 2,890 km paved: 364 km unpaved: 2,526 km (1996)
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: Djibouti
Airports: 12 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 2 over 3,047 m: 1 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 10 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 914 to 1,523 m: 5 under 914 m: 3 (2001) Military Djibouti -
Military branches: Djibouti National Army (including Navy and Air Force) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 110,221 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 64,940 (2002 est.)
service: Military expenditures - dollar $26.5 million (FY01)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 4.4% (FY01)
GDP: Transnational Issues Djibouti - Disputes - international: Djibouti maintains economic ties and border accords with "Somaliland" leadership while politically supporting the Somali Transitional National Government in Mogadishu

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City (pop., 1995 est.: 383,000), major port, and capital of Djibouti.

Located on the southern shore of the Gulf of Tadjoura in the Gulf of Aden, it was founded by the French in 1888 and made the capital of French Somaliland in 1892. Linked by rail to Addis Ababa in 1917, it was made a free port in 1949. The economic life of both the city and the nation depends on the city's function as a transshipment point, especially between Ethiopia and the Red Sea trade. Built on three level areas linked by jetties, the city has a mixture of ancient and modern architecture. Drought and war during the 1980s and early '90s brought many refugees to Djibouti from Somalia and Ethiopia, swelling its population.
officially Republic of Djibouti formerly (1885–1967) French Somaliland (1967–77) French Territory of the Afars and Issas

Country, eastern Africa, on the Gulf of Aden at the entrance to the Red Sea.

Area: 8,880 sq mi (22,999 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 473,000. Capital: Djibouti. Over half of the people are Issas and related Somali clans; Afars are nearly two-fifths; the balance includes Yemeni Arabs and Europeans, mostly French. Languages: French, Arabic (both official). Religion: Sunnite Islam. Currency: Djibouti franc. Djibouti is divided into three principal regions: the coastal plain; the volcanic plateaus in the country's south and centre; and the mountain ranges in the north, reaching 6,654 ft (2,028 m) at Mount Mousâ. The land is primarily desert
hot, dry, and desolate. Less than 1% is arable. Djibouti has a developing market economy that is based almost entirely on trade and commercial services, centring on Djibouti city. The country is a republic with one legislative house; its head of state and government is the president. Settled с 3rd century BC by the Arab ancestors of the Afars, it was later populated by Somali Issas. In AD 825 Islam was brought to the area by missionaries. Arabs controlled the trade in this region until the 16th century; it became the French protectorate of French Somaliland in 1888. In 1946 it became a French overseas territory and in 1977 gained its independence. In the late 20th century it received refugees from the Ethiopian-Somali war and from civil conflicts in Eritrea. From the 1990s the country suffered from political unrest.

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▪ 2009

23,200 sq km (8,950 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 506,000
Chief of state and head of government:
President Ismail Omar Guelleh, assisted by Prime Minister Dileita Muhammad Dileita

      Djibouti faced a tumultuous year in 2008 as it teetered on the brink of a war with Eritrea and endured another food crisis. In April, Eritrea amassed troops along the Ras Doumeira border area of Djibouti; this action resulted in border skirmishes that led to the deaths of about 20 Djibouti soldiers, which prompted Pres. Ismail Omar Guelleh to declare war on Eritrea in June. The African Union, the UN Security Council, and the Arab League roundly condemned the Eritrean incursion.

      Parliamentary elections held in February were marked by the highest voter turnout (72%) in 15 years. The ruling coalition, the Union for a Presidential Majority (UMP), swept up all 65 seats as the three-party opposition alliance, Union for a Democratic Alternative (UAD), boycotted the elections.

      Amid a confluence of a global rise in food prices, persistent drought, and a virtual total dependency on imports of staple goods, the country faced a food crisis beginning in March, when nearly 55,000 people required emergency food aid. The government implemented measures, including price controls on most basic commodities, in a bid to stem the food crisis. By July more than 150,000 people were facing food shortages.

Mary Ebeling

▪ 2008

23,200 sq km (8,950 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 496,000
Chief of state and head of government:
President Ismail Omar Guelleh, assisted by Prime Minister Dileita Muhammad Dileita

      In January 2007 the U.S. military launched air raids on suspected al-Qaeda hideouts in southern Somalia from the Combined Joint Task Force–Horn of Africa, which was based in Djibouti. The base from which the raids were launched, Camp Lemonier, was the only official U.S. military presence in Africa. Djibouti Pres. Ismail Omar Guelleh condemned the raids as being counterproductive to the diplomatic efforts being made to end the clashes in Somalia.

      In March President Guelleh refused a summons to appear before a French judge who was probing the death in 1995 in Djibouti of Bernard Borrel, a French judge who had been investigating Guelleh during his 1995 presidential campaign. Allegations were made that France's former president Jacques Chirac had colluded with the Djibouti government, including President Guelleh, in a cover-up surrounding Borrel's death. By August two more governmental officials had been served with summonses. The ongoing French investigation into the suspicious death soured relations between the two countries.

      An estimated 53,000 Djiboutians faced malnutrition and hunger when in April and May the UN World Food Programme halted its feeding programs, owing to a shortfall in funding. Over the previous five years, the country had endured several droughts; the most severe one occurred in 2006.

Mary Ebeling

▪ 2007

23,200 sq km (8,950 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 487,000
Chief of state and head of government:
President Ismail Omar Guelleh, assisted by Prime Minister Dileita Muhammad Dileita

      From February to April 2006, trade unionists in Djibouti opposed the introduction of a new labour code, which they claimed harkened back to inimical French colonial laws that severely limited workers' rights to organize. Several prominent trade union leaders were arrested and imprisoned. On April 1 a joint International Confederation of Free Trade Unions–International Federation for Human Rights mission mandated to investigate the trade unionist allegations was expelled upon arrival in the country. Two days later the government also expelled an official from the UN's International Labour Office.

      In April health authorities confirmed an outbreak of dengue fever and one human case of bird flu in the capital, the first verified case in the Horn of Africa. Some chickens also died from the infection.

      Djibouti came under international scrutiny when Amnesty International alleged that the United States, which based an antiterrorist task force in the country, had used Djibouti in the rendition of Yemeni national Muhammad al-Assad.

LaRay Denzer

▪ 2006

23,200 sq km (8,950 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 477,000
Chief of state and head of government:
President Ismail Omar Guelleh, assisted by Prime Minister Dileita Muhammad Dileita

      Djibouti was threatened early in 2005 with the possibility of severe food shortages resulting from two seasons of drought. When the rainy season failed to materialize in April, appeals were made for $7.5 million and 5,000 metric tons of food aid in an effort to avert a famine faced by an estimated 47,000 people. The appeal fell on deaf ears, however; the governments of Germany and the United States in June committed to providing aid for nonfood relief, which covered only 5.3% of the total aid needed. The food crisis deepened in August as appeals for food aid were still unmet. Amid drought and food insecurity, campaigning in the run-up to the presidential election hit a snag when the only opposition candidate, Mohamed Daoud Chehem, withdrew from the race because he was unable to raise sufficient campaign funds. As a result, on April 8 Pres. Ismail Omar Guelleh won 100% of the vote in an election that registered a voter turnout of 78.9% but was boycotted by the opposition. Election day was marred when police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters who had blockaded streets with burning tires.

Mary F.E. Ebeling

▪ 2005

23,200 sq km (8,950 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 467,000 (excluding fewer than 25,000 refugees)
Chief of state and head of government:
President Ismail Omar Guelleh, assisted by Prime Minister Dileita Muhammad Dileita

      Efforts to repatriate refugees and illegal immigrants from Djibouti continued in 2004; the initiative had begun in July 2003 after government officials told the country's estimated 100,000 illegal immigrants to either apply for asylum or leave. During February and March more than 430 Somalis returned to the self-declared Republic of Somaliland as part of a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees operation. By June, efforts to move more than 3,000 Ethiopian returnees over the border were under way. In March, working from a tip-off that an assassination attempt was planned, German Pres. Johannes Rau abandoned his plans to visit Djibouti to meet German sailors participating in the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom.

      As part of a three-year plan to distribute free drugs to all HIV-positive people in Djibouti, some 40 HIV-positive patients were the first to receive free antiretroviral medicine in March. Torrential rains and flooding in mid-April killed nearly 300 people and left 3,000 homeless.

      Djibouti's first prime minister after independence from France in 1977, opposition leader Ahmed Dini, died in September. (See Obituaries.) Dini had alleged election fraud when his party won no seats during the country's first multiparty parliamentary election in 2003, but he was unsuccessful in challenging the results.

Mary F.E. Ebeling

▪ 2004

23,200 sq km (8,950 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 457,000 (excluding 25,000 refugees)
Chief of state and head of government:
President Ismail Omar Guelleh, assisted by Prime Minister Dileita Muhammad Dileita

      In January 2003 the Union for the Presidential Majority (UMP), a coalition supporting Pres. Ismail Omar Guelleh, took all 65 parliamentary seats in Djibouti's first full multiparty election. Opposition leader Ahmed Dini alleged fraud, but he was unsuccessful in challenging the election results. Seven women entered the new National Assembly, following a new law mandating such an inclusion.

      Despite a serious drought and food shortage, the presence of U.S. troops emerged as the major campaign issue in the parliamentary election. The opposition maintained that the presence of U.S. soldiers could incite terrorist attacks. After the election President Guelleh continued to foster diplomatic ties with the U.S.; however, the U.S. was not given permission to launch attacks from Djibouti during the 2003 Iraq war. Guelleh criticized the war effort, citing the lack of UN approval for the operation. During the course of the war, there were two large antiwar demonstrations on the streets of Djibouti.

      In September Djibouti's military began forcefully deporting thousands of illegal Somali, Ethiopian, and Eritrean immigrants who had ignored a late-July call to leave voluntarily. Djibouti's high unemployment rate and security concerns were given as primary reasons for the expulsion of an estimated 100,000 illegal immigrants who had been living in the country.

Andrew Eisenberg

▪ 2003

23,200 sq km (8,950 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 473,000 (excluding 25,000 refugees from Somalia)
Chief of state and head of government:
President Ismail Omar Guelleh, assisted by Prime Minister Dileita Muhammad Dileita

      Djibouti's proximity to Yemen and Somalia, two countries cited by the U.S. government as possible terrorist havens, became the dominant factor affecting the country's foreign relations in 2002. In late January German naval forces began to arrive in Djibouti to stage patrols of the regional maritime traffic, searching for terrorist suspects possibly fleeing Afghanistan. The U.S. also assembled a military presence at a French base in the country. Pres. Ismael Omar Guelleh met with Gen. Tommy Franks of the U.S. Central Command in March and July to discuss Djibouti's role in the antiterrorism campaign. U.S. and Djibouti officials also signed an agreement in June to allow the U.S. to set up radio relays for Arabic-language broadcasts to eastern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

      In July the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and its partner agencies instituted a voluntary repatriation program for Somali refugees in Djibouti, most of whom had, beginning in the late 1980s, fled the Somalian civil war. The repatriation project had been delayed somewhat owing to a shortage in food aid.

      On June 27 Djibouti celebrated 25 years of independence from France. Another anniversary came on September 4, marking 10 years since the adoption of Djibouti's present constitution. President Guelleh chose the occasion to announce the approval of multiparty politics.

Andrew Eisenberg

▪ 2002

23,200 sq km (8,950 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 461,000 (excluding an unknown number of refugees)
Chief of state and head of government:
President Ismail Omar Guelleh, assisted by Prime Ministers Barkat Gourad Hamadou and, from March 4, Dileita Muhammad Dileita

      In February 2001 Prime Minister Barkat Gourad Hamadou, who had served in the post since 1978, resigned for health reasons. On March 4 Pres. Ismael Omar Guelleh named Dileita Muhammad Dileita, a senior civil servant and Djibouti's ambassador to Ethiopia, as the new prime minister.

      In May the government concluded a peace agreement with the radical wing of the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD). This group had battled on behalf of the Afar ethnic group after FRUD moderates had reached an accord with the government. Although details of the agreement were not announced, FRUD leader Ahmad Dini Ahmad talked about decentralization, the establishment of local governance councils, and recognition of more political parties. The disarmament of FRUD fighters and a ceremonial destruction of weapons followed in June. In July President Guelleh formed the second government of his six-year term. To the surprise of many observers, the 20-member cabinet omitted representatives from FRUD's radical wing.

      Throughout the year Djibouti suffered from drought. In addition, by September Djibouti's towns had absorbed nearly 100,000 refugees, including migrants from neighbouring countries. The influx strained Djibouti's urban infrastructure. The UN World Food Programme announced a relief package, including 11,000 tons of supplies. To add to the country's woes, various missions from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union criticized the government for its growing debt.

      In December the country hosted a high-level German delegation to discuss stationing German troops in Djibouti. These forces would support the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism.

Matthew A. Cenzer

▪ 2001

23,200 sq km (8,950 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 451,000
Chief of state and head of government:
President Ismail Omar Guelleh, assisted by Prime Minister Barkat Gourad Hamadou

      In February 2000 the government of Djibouti and rebels of the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD) signed an agreement to end fighting that had begun in 1991. FRUD chairman Ahmad Dini Ahmad returned from nine years of exile and pledged to turn the movement into a peaceful political party.

      In March Djibouti reestablished diplomatic relations with Eritrea; they had been suspended in 1998 amid Eritrean claims that arms shipments bound for Ethiopia had passed through the port of Djibouti. Pres. Ismail Omar Guelleh assumed the role of regional peacemaker in March when he hosted talks aimed at finding a settlement to the conflict in Somalia. When the dialogue ended in August, a transitional Somali National Assembly based in Djibouti had been established. Although Guelleh's efforts drew praise from the UN, the Organization of African Unity, and many foreign governments, some Somali faction leaders boycotted the talks and accused Guelleh of pursuing a regional-power agenda.

      In April the UN pledged nearly $7 million to upgrade Djibouti's port and road facilities. The already-busy port was the major transit point for relief aid to some 12.4 million people threatened by severe drought in northeastern Africa. An estimated 150,000 people affected by drought in Djibouti received emergency assistance from the UN World Food Programme.

Matthew A. Cenzer

▪ 2000

23,200 sq km (8,950 sq mi)
(1999 est.): 669,000
Chief of state and head of government:
President Hassan Gouled Aptidon and, from May 8, Ismail Omar Guelleh, assisted by Prime Minister Barkat Gourad Hamadou

      Early in 1999 Pres. Hassan Gouled Aptidon, who had ruled Djibouti since independence in 1977, announced he would not seek reelection. The ruling Popular Rally for Progress party nominated Ismail Omar Guelleh, a former Cabinet secretary and the retiring president's nephew, as its candidate in the April presidential elections. He faced Moussa Ahmed Idriss, who represented a coalition of opposition parties. Ismail Omar won with nearly 75% of the vote. International observers reported no significant irregularities, and, despite logistic difficulties, voter turnout was about 60%.

      Following his inauguration in May, the new president released more than 40 prisoners, including prominent opposition activists. Nonetheless, the regime drew international criticism for human rights violations and harassment of journalists. In September police arrested Moussa Ahmed and charged him with publishing seditious articles.

      Djibouti's economy benefited somewhat from the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea as Ethiopia redirected its commerce from Eritrean ports to Djibouti. Port revenues accounted for nearly 75% of Djibouti's income. The new president pledged to strengthen Djibouti's already strong relations with Ethiopia and expressed support for the economic integration of the two states. This drew criticism from Eritrea and from Djibouti opposition parties, which demanded their country's neutrality.

      In August the government appealed to the international community to assist more than 100,000 drought-threatened people in parts of the country.

Matthew A. Cenzer

▪ 1999

      Area: 23,200 sq km (8,950 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 652,000

      Capital: Djibouti

      Chief of state and head of government: President Hassan Gouled Aptidon, assisted by Prime Minister Barkat Gourad Hamadou

      Pro-government parties captured all 65 seats in the national legislature in elections on Dec. 19, 1997. Citing fraud and a lack of international monitoring, opposition parties called for a boycott of the polls. Pres. Hassan Gouled Aptidon reappointed Barkat Gourad Hamadou prime minister, a post he had held since 1978.

      In July high-level delegations from Djibouti visited Iran to sign agreements on economic cooperation. This effort resulted in Iranian pledges of assistance with the construction of an oil refinery in the country.

      In May President Aptidon, who was the chairman of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, an organization of seven northeastern African nations, traveled to Addis Ababa, Eth., with the hope of mediating the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea. His efforts failed to end the crisis. By the middle of June, Djibouti had increased army patrols on its borders and in November it closed its embassy in Asmara, Eritrea.


▪ 1998

      Area: 23,200 sq km (8,950 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 622,000

      Capital: Djibouti

      Chief of state: President Hassan Gouled Aptidon

      Head of government: Prime Minister Barkat Gourad Hamadou

      On Sept. 2, 1997, 11 Djibouti soldiers were killed and 16 were injured in an attack in the northern part of the nation. Though no group claimed responsibility for the action, most government officials blamed it on Afar rebels who belonged to the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy. Two days later Pres. Hassan Gouled Aptidon met with French Pres. Jacques Chirac to discuss the situation. In August France had announced that its 3,100 garrison troops in Djibouti might be reduced. This could be a serious economic setback for Djibouti, since the troops had created an estimated one-third of the country's gross domestic product.

      Four former leaders of the ruling party, the Popular Rally for Progress, were released from prison on January 10. They had been jailed in August 1996 for insulting President Aptidon. In addition, they were to be deprived of their civil rights for the next five years, a penalty they sought to have nullified when they were released from prison.


      This article updates Djibouti, history of.

▪ 1997

      The republic of Djibouti is in the Horn of northeastern Africa on the Gulf of Aden. Area: 23,200 sq km (8,950 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 604,000. Cap.: Djibouti. Monetary unit: Djibouti franc, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a par value of DF 177.72 to U.S. $1 (free rate of DF 279.96 = £1 sterling). President in 1996, Hassan Gouled Aptidon; prime minister, Barkat Gourad Hamadou.

      On March 27 Pres. Hassan Gouled Aptidon dismissed Ahmed Boulaleh Barreh and Moumin Bahdon Farah, ministers, respectively, of defense and of justice, Islamic affairs and prisons. Their departure was likely to strengthen the positions of Prime Minister Barkat Gourad Hamadou and the chef de cabinet, Ismael Omar Guelleh, both of whom were lining up to succeed the president who had just spent three months in a French hospital.

      The International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to a standby credit of SDR 4.6 million ($6.7 million) for 14 months to support the government's reform program. This was the first time Djibouti had used the IMF, which it joined in 1977. After having been imprisoned for a month, five deputies, including Farah, who had announced the formation of a new political party in April, went on a hunger strike in August in protest against their detention; they were accused of insulting Aptidon. (GUY ARNOLD)

      This article updates Djibouti, history of.

▪ 1996

      The republic of Djibouti is in the Horn of northeastern Africa on the Gulf of Aden. Area: 23,200 sq km (8,950 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 586,000. Cap.: Djibouti. Monetary unit: Djibouti franc, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a par value of DF 177.72 to U.S. $1 (free rate of DF 280.96 = £1 sterling). President in 1995, Hassan Gouled Aptidon; prime minister, Barkat Gourad Hamadou.

      Divisions in the Afar Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD) that had surfaced in March 1994 became open in October 1994 when the FRUD congress banned Ahmad Dini Ahmad and Muhammad Adoyta Yussuf from exercising any "activity or responsibility" in FRUD for opposing peace negotiations with the government. Following a peace and reconciliation agreement on Dec. 26, 1994, between the government and the principal FRUD faction led by Ahmad Ougoureh Kible and Ali Muhammad Daoud, it was expected that former FRUD rebel troops would be integrated into the national army. A cease-fire was followed by a revision of the constitution and by an alliance between the FRUD faction and the government party, the Popular Rally for Progress, for "the management of affairs," which suggested that FRUD would later be included in the government. Ahmad Dini Ahmad (of the expelled faction) condemned these agreements as a betrayal. In a Cabinet reshuffle on June 8, Kible and Daoud joined the government, as did five other FRUD leaders.

      On May 1, following an extended Cabinet meeting, the government cut expenditure by DF 27 million. This was done under pressure from the International Monetary Fund, which had called for measures to stabilize the country's finances. Other measures taken would increase government revenues. (GUY ARNOLD)

      This updates the article Djibouti, history of.

▪ 1995

      The republic of Djibouti is in the Horn of northeastern Africa on the Gulf of Aden. Area: 23,200 sq km (8,950 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 569,000 (excluding about 60,000 Somali refugees). Cap.: Djibouti. Monetary unit: Djibouti franc, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a par value of DF 177.72 to U.S. $1 (free rate of DF 270.82 = £1 sterling). President in 1994, Hassan Gouled Aptidon; prime minister, Barkat Gourad Hamadou.

      During March 1994 divisions surfaced in the rebel Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD). The political bureau, led by Ahmad Dini Ahmad, was dissolved to be replaced by a 13-man "executive council" under Ahmad Ougoureh Kible, who was named the new commander-in-chief of the movement. In the communiqué the new leadership accused the deposed leaders of "unforgivable mistakes" and said they had paralyzed the movement for two years. FRUD then hinted at its readiness to negotiate with the government. In June negotiations between the government and FRUD led to a joint decision to end the 2 1/2-year civil war, and FRUD was offered the prospect of participating in politics as a legal party. There were doubts, however, as to whether all the FRUD factions would obey the decision.

      On June 5 the nation's security forces put down a demonstration by Afar residents of the Arhiba district of Djibouti, who were objecting to the bulldozing of their homes for "security" reasons. Four people were killed, 20 injured, and 300 arrested, including the president of the United Opposition Front, Muhammad Ahmad Issa.

      An improvement in relations with France, which had been poor for four years, occurred in March when the French minister of cooperation, Michel Roussin, visited Djibouti to attend a meeting of the joint cooperation commission of the two countries. He announced a 1994 aid package of F 8.5 million to assist in Djibouti's budget and an additional F 11.5 million for reconstruction of the infrastructure destroyed in the conflict with FRUD. (GUY ARNOLD)

      This updates the article Djibouti, history of.

▪ 1994

      The republic of Djibouti is in the Horn of northeastern Africa on the Gulf of Aden. Area: 23,200 sq km (8,950 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 565,000 (excluding about 130,000 Somali refugees). Cap.: Djibouti. Monetary unit: Djibouti franc, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a par value of DF 178.17 to U.S. $1 (free rate of DF 270.82 = £1 sterling). President in 1993, Hassan Gouled Aptidon; prime minister, Barkat Gourad Hamadou.

      Although the Popular Rally for Progress won the elections in December 1992, taking all 65 seats with 76.71% of the votes cast, 51% of the voters failed to cast their votes.

      Fighting between government troops and forces of the Afar Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD) around the northeastern town of Tadjoura in December 1992 and January 1993 left dozens dead and hundreds wounded. On February 4 Pres. Hassan Gouled Aptidon reshuffled the government but reappointed Barkat Gourad Hamadou prime minister. New ministries were created for Planning, Lands, and Cooperation; Economy and Trade; and Transport, Tourism, and Communications, raising the total number to 18. A careful ethnic balance was struck in the Cabinet with the appointment of eight Issas, seven Afars, one Arab, one Issaq, and one Gadaboursi.

      In February government forces attacked FRUD positions in the southwest of the country, and they regained control of the entire south by driving the rebels from positions they had held for a year. In the May 7 elections President Hassan Gouled was reelected with 60.76% of the vote, defeating four rivals in the first round over protests that the election had been neither free nor fair. (GUY ARNOLD)

      This updates the article Djibouti, history of.

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officially  Republic of Djibouti,  French  République de Djibouti,  Arabic  Jumhūrīyah Jībūtī,  formerly (until 1977)  French Territory of the Afars and Issas,  
Djibouti, flag of strategically located nation on the northeast coast of the Horn of Africa. It is situated on the Strait of Mandeb, which lies to the east and separates the Red Sea from the Gulf of Aden. Small in size, Djibouti is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Ethiopia to the west and southwest, and Somalia to the south. The Gulf of Tadjoura (Tadjoura, Gulf of), which opens into the Gulf of Aden, bifurcates the eastern half of the country and supplies much of its 230 miles (370 kilometres) of coastline. The capital, Djibouti city (Djibouti), is built on coral reefs jutting into the southern entrance of the gulf; other major towns are Obock, Tadjoura, Ali Sabieh, and Dikhil.

      The nation's Lilliputian aspect belies its regional and geopolitical importance. The capital is the site of a modern deepwater port that serves Indian Ocean and Red Sea traffic and hosts a French naval base. Djibouti city is also the railhead for the only line serving Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Djibouti is one of Africa's newest states; it gained independence from France on June 27, 1977. The republic seeks a role as moderator in regional strife and continued development of its commercial activity.

The land
 The landscape of Djibouti is varied and extreme, ranging from rugged mountains in the north to a series of low desert plains separated by parallel plateaus in the west and south. Its highest peak is Mount Mousa at 6,768 feet (2,063 metres); the lowest point, which is also the lowest in Africa, is the saline Lake Assal (Assal, Lake), 515 feet (157 metres) below sea level.

      Located at the convergence of the African and Arabian tectonic plates, the territory is geologically active. Slight tremors are frequent, and much of the terrain is littered with basalt from past volcanic activity.

      Rainfall is rare, and vegetation is minimal. There are no regularly flowing surface watercourses in the republic. Cool-season (October to April) daily maximum temperatures at Djibouti city average 87° F (31° C); in the hot months 99° F (37° C) is the average daily maximum. Temperatures increase and humidity drops in midsummer as the arid khamsin wind blows off the inland desert.

      The country's wildlife includes antelopes, gazelles, hyenas, jackals, and ostriches. Offshore, Djibouti's waters teem with many species of marine life, including tuna, barracuda, and grouper.

      Djibouti is virtually a city-state, since about two-thirds of the population lives in or near the capital. Outlying towns are small trading centres that experience periodic population increases as camel caravans and sheep and goat herders encamp.

The people

Ethnic composition
      Based on linguistic criteria, the two largest ethnic groups are the Somali and the Afar. Both groups adhere at least nominally to the Sunnite branch of Islām and speak related, but not mutually intelligible, eastern Cushitic languages.

      The Afar (Denakil, or Danakil) speak a language that forms a dialect continuum with Saho. Saho-Afar is usually classified as an Eastern Cushitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language phylum. The Afar live in the sparsely populated areas to the west and north of the Gulf of Tadjoura. This region includes parts of several former as well as extant Afar sultanates. The sultans' roles are now largely ceremonial, and the social divisions within the traditional Afar hierarchy are of diminished importance.

      The Somali, who also speak an Eastern Cushitic language, are concentrated in the capital and the southeastern quarter of the country. Their social identity is determined by clan-family membership. More than half of the Somali belong to the Issa, whose numbers exceed those of the Afar; the remaining Somali are predominately members of the Gadaboursi and Issaq clans.

      Djibouti city is home to a long-established community of Yemeni Arabs and houses a sizable contingent of French technical advisers and military personnel. In recent decades these groups have been joined by small but significant numbers of ethnic Ethiopians as well as Greek and Italian expatriates.

      The republic recognizes two official languages: French and Arabic. However, Somali is the most widely spoken language, although it is rarely written and is not taught in the schools. The use of Afar is mostly restricted to Afar areas. Many Djiboutians are multilingual.

Demographic trends
      Djibouti is the most urbanized country in sub-Saharan Africa, with some four-fifths of the population classified as urban. The annual rate of population increase is higher than the world average but has dropped significantly since the 1980s. More than half of the population is under the age of 20, and the average life expectancy is less than 50 years.

      Both the Afar and the Somali maintain ties with relatives living in neighbouring Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Since independence, many newcomers from rural areas and regions beyond the national frontier have migrated to live with family members in Djibouti city. Drought and political conflicts in the Horn also have created large refugee movements into the republic.

The economy
      Djibouti has few natural resources and extensive unemployment. Efforts to exploit geothermal energy are under way, but without substantial results. salt was commercially exploited for export until the 1950s; today, surface deposits are collected and marketed through the informal sector of the economy. In rural areas, nomadic pastoralism is a way of life. Sheep and goats are raised for milk, meat, and skins, while camels are used for transport caravans. Agriculture is confined to a few wadis, which produce small yields of vegetables (mostly tomatoes) and dates. The fishing industry is still in the early stages of development. More than 90 percent of the country's food requirements is imported, mainly from France, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

      Much of the country's economic potential lies in the transport and service sectors. An international airport is located at Ambouli. The port of Djibouti is a free-trade zone with modern container and refrigeration facilities and a rail link to Ethiopia. International telecommunications services are some of the best in sub-Saharan Africa. The capital has attracted several large commercial banks and provides a thriving entertainment industry necessary to a port city. There is also much unrecorded transshipment, via camels, dhows, and trucks, to bordering countries.

      Major public works projects have been funded through foreign aid, and the government actively coordinates donors' efforts. In 1988 a paved road linking Tadjoura and the north with the capital was completed. The improvement of housing and the urban infrastructure continues.

Administration and social conditions

      Nine constitutional articles were adopted in February 1981. These provide for the election of a president by universal suffrage for a six-year term (renewable once), a 65-member National Assembly elected for a five-year term, and a Council of Ministers headed by the prime minister.

      A single-party system, consisting of the Popular Assembly for Progress (Rassemblement Populaire pour le Progrès; RPP), was instituted by constitutional amendment in October 1981. Deputies to the National Assembly must be elected from a list supplied by the RPP; abstention from voting is the only legal form of opposition.

      The judicial system recognizes several codes: French-based civil law, Islāmic law, and customary means of arbitration employed by the local populations.

      The Djiboutian armed forces are supported by the presence of several thousand French troops, including a unit of the French Foreign Legion (Foreign Legion, French).

      Djibouti belongs to the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity, the Arab League, and the nonaligned movement. In 1986 Djibouti city became the headquarters of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD), which comprises six eastern African nations.

      The educational system, although free, is burdened by the needs of Djibouti's young population. For many, formal education ends with early childhood training at local Qurʾān schools. Primary schools are run by the state and by Roman Catholic clergy; advancement to the secondary level in the public system is limited by the size of state facilities. A small vocational training program is offered, but no postsecondary educational institutions exist. Less than one-fifth of the adult population is literate.

      Many Djiboutians live in poor housing with inadequate water and sanitation. The infant mortality rate is high due to diarrhea and dehydration. Tuberculosis is a major health problem. Djibouti city has a hospital and several primary care clinics, and local dispensaries serve the rural areas.

Cultural life
      Djibouti's only television and radio station, which broadcasts in French, Arabic, Afar, and Somali, is state-run, as is the weekly French-language newspaper, La Nation. The government sponsors several organizations dedicated to the preservation of traditional culture and dance.

      In 1984 Djibouti entered the Olympics for the first time; since then its marathon runners have commanded international attention.

      Major holidays are Independence Day, June 27, and the festivals of the Muslim calendar.

Additional Reading
Because most scholarship has been published in French, English-language sources for the geography and history of Djibouti are few and scattered. Among the fairly accessible articles and monographs in English on politics and economics are Said Yusuf Abdi, “Independence for the Afars and Issas: Complex Background, Uncertain Future,” Africa Today, 24(1):61–67 (January/March 1977), a succinct discussion of regional and internal politics at the time of independence; Peter D. Coats, “Factors of Intermediacy in Nineteenth-Century Africa: The Case of the Issa of the Horn,” in Thomas Labahn (ed.), Proceedings of the Second International Congress of Somali Studies, vol. 2 (1984), pp. 175–199, an excellent analysis of the impact of the Franco-Ethiopian railway on the traditional trading networks and economy of the Issa Somali; and Norman N. Miller, “The Other Somalia,” Horn of Africa, 5(3):3–19 (1982), focusing on unrecorded trade between Somalia and Djibouti.Catherine C. Cutbill

Arabic  Jībūtī,  
 port city and capital of the Republic of Djibouti (Djibouti). It lies on the southern shore of the Gulf of Tadjoura, which is an inlet of the Gulf of Aden. Built on three level areas (Djibouti, Serpent, Marabout) linked by jetties, the city has a mixture of old and modern architecture. Menilek Square contains the government palace. The climate is dry and hot.

      Djibouti owes its creation as a port (c.. 1888) to Léonce Lagarde, first governor of French Somaliland, as the area was then called. Shortly after it became the capital (1892), work began on the railway that linked Addis Ababa, Eth., to the port in 1917. The harbour is landlocked, covers 160 acres (65 hectares), and has been modernized and dredged to depths of 40–65 feet (12–20 m). Djibouti became a free port in 1949, and the economic life of both the city and the nation depends on the city's use as an entrepôt especially between Ethiopia and the Red Sea trade and as a refueling and supply station. Trade declined during the closure (1967–75) of the Suez Canal. Guerrilla attacks on parts of the Djibouti–Addis Ababa Railway during the Ethiopian civil war in the late 1970s led to further disruption of Djibouti's economy. Drought and war during the 1980s and early '90s sent many refugees (refugee) to Djibouti from Somalia and Ethiopia, swelling its population and creating an additional strain on the city's resources. Major population groups in the city are the Afars (Danakil), Issa Somalis, Arabs, Europeans (mostly French), and Asians. Pop. (2006 est.) 325,000.

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Universalium. 2010.

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