Djibouti - Poverty and wealth

Per capita GDP, using the purchasing power parity conversion, was estimated at $1,300 in 2000. There are wide disparities between those who are engaged in modern sector activities in the town of Djibouti and the rest of the population, which mainly consists of shanty-dwellers relying on the informal sector, rural farmers, and nomadic shepherds. Perhaps 80 percent of the people who rely on agriculture for their livelihood are below the US$1 per day poverty line, meaning that approximately 60 percent of the total population live in poverty. Of an estimated labor force of 282,000 in 2000, formal unemployment stands at 50 percent, although many of the unemployed are engaged in informal sector activities

In 1987, government statistics indicated that 66 percent of the population were able to read, but in 1995 a new estimation measured the literacy rate of the population over 15 years of age as 46 percent (males 60 percent; females 33 percent). In the period from 1991 to 1992 there were 33,500 pupils, 66 schools, and 707 teachers in primary education. In 1996, the total enrollment at primary and secondary schools was equivalent to 26 percent of the school-age population. Education is limited primarily to urban areas, where teacher strikes are frequent. There is no university in Djibouti, and technical skills are often found lacking.

Life-expectancy estimates are 49 years for males and 53 years for females in 2001. Infant mortality stands at 102 per 1,000, which marks an improvement from the past but is still a long way from what can be achieved (the U.S. rate is 7 per 1,000). There is a 600-bed hospital in the capital and a 60-bed maternity and pediatric hospital in Balbala. There are 6 medical centers and 21 dispensaries cover the interior of the country. Virtually all medicines can be obtained, but since they must be imported they are expensive. The large prostitute population, attracted by the French troops stationed in Djibouti, leads to a high incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.

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