Djibouti By | Saturday, September 8   2012 at  15:09

Full Name
Republic of Djibouti (English)
Republique de Djibouti (French)
Jumhuriyat Jibuti (Arabic)
Origins of name: It is named after the main port
Formerly: The French territories of Afars and Issas (two main populations in the region)

Current Leader
Ismael Omar Guelleh

Overview
Djibouti is of major strategic importance due to its location at the end of the Red Sea
Djibouti was formerly part of the French Somaliland colony
Gained independence on June 27, 1977 from the French

Facts

Form of Government
Republic
Chief of State is the President
Head of Government is the Prime Minister
President is elected by popular vote for a six-year term and is eligible for a second term

Government structure
President, Prime Minister, Cabinet: Council of Ministers responsible to the President

Military Statistics
Manpower fit for service: Males age 16-49: 55,173 and Females age 16-49: 52,825
Expenditures: 3.8% of GDP
Branches: Djibouti National Army (includes Navy and Air Force)

Former Rulers
1977 – 1999: Hassan Gouled Aptidon
1999 – Present: Ismael Omar Guelleh

Capital
Djibouti
Altitude: 8 metres
Population: 610,608 people

Population
Size: 906,000 (2011)
Life expectancy: 43.4 years
Gender Make-Up: Male – 51.03%, Female – 48.97%

GDP per capita
$ 2,700 (2011)

$ 2,600 (2010)

Geography
Area: 23,200sqkm
Land boundaries: Eritrea 109km, Ethiopia 349km, Somalia 58km

Major Languages
French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar

Religious portfolio
Muslim 94%, Christian 6%

National Make-up
Somali 60%, Afar 35%, other 5% (includes French, Arab, Ethiopian, and Italian)

Natural Resources
Geothermal areas, Gold, Clay, Granite, Limestone, Marble, Salt, Diatomite, Gypsum, Pumice, Petroleum

Main exports
Re-exports (hides, skins and coffee), Hides and skins, Coffee (re-exported from Ethiopia)

Land Use
Arable land: 0.04%

Permanent crops: 0%
Other: 99.96%

Monetary Unit/Currency
Djiboutian franc

Dialling Code
+253

Internet Code
.dj

Transport
Main Port: Djibouti
Airport: Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport (JIB) located at 4km from the City

Modern issues

Environmental
Inadequate supplies of fresh water
Limited arable land
Desertification
Endangered species (such as the cheetah)

Political
In 2011, Mr. Guelleh secured a third term in office after a landslide election victory, despite protests against his rule. He won 80 per cent of the votes cast, according to the country's electoral commission. The opposition had urged a boycott of the polls, alleging irregularities

Economic
Djibouti has a heavy dependence on food imports
Being a mostly barren country, the location of Djibouti is paramount to its economy and many landlocked countries will use it as a place for imports and exports (Djibouti benefits from harbour fees and transit taxes)
The influx of refugees has proved to be a great drain on the national economy and resources

Social
Arbitrary arrests were carried out in 2011, following mass protests, which the Djiboutian human rights group, ORDHD, has expressed concern over

Drought is a prevalent problem in the region with thousands of civilians requiring aid
Decline of pastoralist culture and society
Lack of education for remote areas

Foreign Affairs
Djibouti has traditionally strong ties with France. However, there has been tension concerning the death of the French Judge Bernard Borrel, which has been referred to the International Criminal Court in the Hague
Djibouti continues to have turbulent relations with Eritrea over border disputes

The Major Conflicts

Djibouti Civil War (Afar insurgency)
When: 1991 - 1994
Who: Government (predominantly Issa) vs Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD) (predominantly Afar)
Why: Lack of Afar presence in the government despite the existence of a large Afar population in Djibouti
Outcome: After a long period of conflict, the government and the main faction of FRUD signed a power-sharing agreement officially ending the civil war. However, a faction of FRUD continues to fight and it was only six years later, in 2000, that a peace agreement was signed, ending this conflict

Border Clashes with Eritrea
When: 2008
Who: Djiboutian and Eritrean troops
Why: Disputes over the Ras Doumeira border area
Outcome: Eritrea denies launching the attack though the US condemns their ‘aggression’. At least nine Djiboutian soldiers were killed. Djibouti is currently supported in this conflict with Eritrea by the US, France and Ethiopia

What to see?
Scuba dive in the Red Sea and explore the beaches
Dankali mountain range, which is home to Mount Ali Moussa
Lake Asal: Beautiful salt glaciers surround it

Sports
Popular Sports
Football
Athletics
Famous Sportsmen and Sportswomen
Hussein Ahmed Salah is a former long-distance runner best known for winning a bronze medal in marathon at the 1988 Summer Olympics. He also won silver medals in this event at the 1987 and 1991 World Championships and IAAF World Marathon Cup in 1985

Quirks
Lake Assal, located in the centre of the country, is the lowest point in the whole of Africa at 155m below sea level