Republic of Djibouti
République de Djibouti
Jumhouriyya Djibouti



Djibouti is situated in the Horn of Africa, at the southern entrance to the Red Sea, bordering the Gulf of Aden. To the north lies Eritrea with a shared border of 113 kilometers (70 miles); to the north, west, and southwest lies Ethiopia, with a border length of 337 kilometers (209 miles); and to the southeast lies Somalia, with a border length of 58 kilometers (36 miles). Djibouti has a land area of 23,000 square kilometers (8,880 square miles), making it slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Massachusetts. It has 314 kilometers (195 miles) of coastline. The city of Djibouti, located on the coast, is the nation's capital and only major urban center.


The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency estimated the population of Djibouti at 460,000 in July 2001, though the accuracy of this figure is uncertain. The uncertainty arises because there are an unknown number of expatriates and refugees, and sensitivity over the ethnic composition of Djibouti makes the government unwilling to produce definitive figures. The population is comprised of 2 main ethnic groups. The Somali are estimated as 60 percent of the population, and the Afar are estimated at 35 percent. The remaining 5 percent are mostly French, Arabs, Ethiopians, and Italians. Both the Somali and the Afar are Muslim groups and speak related Cushitic languages. French and Arabic are the official languages. There is an Arab minority population that numbers 12,000 and is mostly people of Yemeni descent. The European population in Djibouti (including French troops) was estimated at 8,000 in 1997. The Somalis are divided into clans, of which the Issa, Gadburs, and Issaqs are the largest.

The population was estimated to be growing at a rate of 2.6 percent per year in 2001, with 43 percent of the population less than 15 years of age. In the 1980s a survey showed that 75 percent of the population were urban (with around half living in the capital), and the rest primarily lived nomadic lives. The urban population has increased significantly in recent years as people have fled from the civil war in the north, the Eritrea-Ethiopia border clash, and the conflicts in Somalia.


Djibouti has no territories or colonies.


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Hodd, M. "Djibouti." The Economies of Africa. Aldershot, England: Dartmouth Publications, 1991.

Ministére de l'Economie, des Finances et de la Planification Chargé de la Privatisation. <> . Accessed October 2001.

République de Djibouti. <> .Accessed October 2001.

Tholomier, Robert. Djibouti, Pawn of the Horn of Africa. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1981.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2001. <> . Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Department of State. Background Notes: Djibouti, March 1996. <> . Accessed October 2001.

—Michael Hodd




Djiboutian franc (Dfr). One Djiboutian franc equals 100 centimes. There are notes of 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 francs and coins of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500 francs. Since 1973 the Djiboutian franc has been tied to the U.S. dollar at a rate of Dfr177.72:US$1.


Reexports, hides and skins, and coffee (in transit).


Foods, beverages, transport equipment, chemicals, and petroleum products.


US$574 million (purchasing power parity, 2000 est.).


Exports: US$260 million (1999 est.). Imports: US$440 million (1999 est.).

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