Ismail Omar Guelleh
(pronounced "EESH-mail O-mar gu-ELL-a")
"The port of Djibouti is the country's major source of government revenue. We are ready to lay down the foundation for cooperation among port authorities in the surrounding region."
The Republic of Djibouti, formerly known as French Somaliland and subsequently renamed the French Territory of Afars and the Issas, became an independent republic in May 1977. Located in the Horn of Africa, just south of the Bab el Mandeb Strait, Djibouti occupies the strategic entrance into the Red Sea. Its neighbors include Ethiopia to its north and west, Somalia to the southeast, and Eritrea to its northwest. With a total land area of 22,000 sq km (8,494 sq mi), Djibouti consists of a coastal plain and plateau, separated by central mountains. Most of the land is volcanic desert, and the climate is hot and arid. Due to a shortage of precipitation, drought and water shortages are common. Djibouti has no arable land and is 9% permanent pastures.
An estimated 472,810 people lived in Djibouti in 2002, with approximately 383,000 residing in the capital, Djibouti. The country's main ethnic groups include the Issa—of Somali descent—accounting for 60% of the population; the Afars for 35%; and French, Arabs, Ethiopians and Italians for 5%. French and Arabic are the official languages; however, Saho-Afar and Somali are widely spoken. Ninety-four percent of the population is Muslim, and 6% is Christian. With a literacy rate of 46.2% and life expectancy of only 49.4 and 53.1 years for men and women respectively, Djibouti is a poor country with a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) estimated at US $1,400 in 2001.
Most economic activity is centered around the capital and port city of Djibouti, but the majority of Djiboutians are pastoral nomads. The country's main trading partners include Great Britain, France, and Somalia. Djibouti imports 97% of its food and is heavily dependent on foreign aid to survive. The national currency is the Djibouti franc .
Office of the President
La Presidence BP 6
Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti
Web site: http://www.republique-djibouti.com/