Djibouti Country and People

Djibouti Population and Economy



A dry, hot, dusty wind blows from the Arabian Peninsula. The average annual rainfall is 130 mm. In the hot and dry season (May to October) the daily maximum temperatures rise to over 55 ° C (depression around Lake Assal). Djibouti is one of the hottest areas on earth. The average relative humidity is 74%.

Population and Religion


According to ejinhua, the majority of the population is divided into two rival ethnic groups, both with a Cushitic language and nomadic tradition. The Afar living in the north and west make up 35% of the population, the Issa, who belong to the Somal, make up about 60% of the population. Europeans (especially French) and Arabs (especially from Yemen) form minorities. In addition, around 27,000 people from Somalia and Ethiopia were in the country (at the end of 2017). The population density is 41 residents / km 2. As a result of pronounced rural exodus, 78% of the people live in the coastal cities, most of them in the capital, whose slums are growing dramatically.

Social: A quarter of the people live below the poverty line without an adequate health and social system. More than a quarter of all children under the age of five are malnourished.


The constitution defines Islam as the state religion in the preamble, but at the same time guarantees in Article 11 the right to freely practice one’s religion based on non-Islamic beliefs. An estimated 94–97% of the population are Sunni Muslims, predominantly from the Shafiite school of law. Within the Christian minority (about 2 to less than 6% of the population) the Orthodox Christians (predominantly Ethiopian Orthodox; few Greek Orthodox) form the largest group. The members of the Catholic Church are subordinate to the exemte Diocese of Djibouti; the small »Protestant Church of Djibouti« (founded in 1960) is historically in the French Reformed tradition.



The gross national income (GNI) is (2017) US $ 1,880 per resident. Nevertheless, Djibouti is dependent on permanent foreign aid. With a foreign debt of (2017) US $ 1.7 billion, the international creditworthiness is severely limited. Unemployment is 46.5%. In 2004 and 2009, the World Bank and IMF approved programs to reduce poverty and reform the economy. Health and social systems should be expanded and economic growth strengthened (e.g. through the creation of new jobs, especially in the transit area to and from Ethiopia), but extreme poverty is still widespread due to the lack of economic diversification.

Foreign trade: Djibouti’s trade balance has been negative for years (2017 import value: US $ 960 million, export value: US $ 151 million) and is only being tempered by surpluses in the service sector and foreign financial aid. In addition to re-exports, the most important export goods are hides, hides and other livestock products. The main customers are Somalia, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. The main imports are foodstuffs, crude oil, machine and electrical products as well as vehicles. The main supplier countries are China, Saudi Arabia, India and Indonesia.


Djibouti is one of the most sterile countries in Africa. In addition, agriculture has been suffering from persistent drought and a blatant water shortage for years. With only 2,000 hectares of cultivated land and poorly fertile pastureland for nomadic livestock farming (cattle, sheep, goats, camels), 97% of all food consumed domestically has to be imported.

Fishing: In spite of the abundance of fish in coastal waters, traditionally fishing is of little importance, only in the Gulf of Tadjoura there is coastal fishing.

Service sector

The basis of the economy are the port of Djibouti (most important import and export port for Ethiopia) and the service sector. The transit of goods via rail, port and airport generates around 75% of GDP. Because of the stability of the Djibouti franc, which, in contrast to the currencies of neighboring countries, is freely convertible and tied to the exchange rate of the US dollar, the banking sector (offshore banking) is the leader in the region.

Tourism: Djibouti is still little developed for tourism. Tourist destinations are the capital Djibouti with the Aquarium Tropical de Djibouti (shows the underwater world of the Red Sea), the beaches of Doralé and Kor Ambad and Tadjoura with the diving and snorkeling areas in front of the city. Between the capital Djibouti and Ali Sabieh are the Petit Bara and the Grand Bara, two impressive desert salt pans. The shores of the Abbésee with its up to 50 m high limestone chimneys and the numerous hot springs are also worth seeing.


The manufacturing industry is largely limited to the processing of the few agricultural goods (especially hides and skins) and to the construction sector. Almost all consumer goods have to be imported.

Natural resources

Djibouti has smaller deposits of clay, limestone, marble and granite. The production of salt is of economic importance. at the Assalsee, which has led to great ecological damage there.


Transit traffic plays the main role. In addition to a moderately developed road network (3,065 km, of which around 1,400 km is paved), the most important transport link is the railway line between Addis Ababa and the port of Djibouti (756 km long, 97 km of which is on Djiboutian territory). With the container port in Doraleh in the Horn of Africa, which was inaugurated in 2009, the port of Djibouti is the central hub for trade between East Africa and the Arab states. Djibouti’s international airport is also an important transshipment point for goods from neighboring countries.

Djibouti Country and People