Location: Horn of Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea; between Eritrea and SomaliaCapital: DjiboutiArea: 23,000 sq km Coastline: 370 km Elevation extremes:lowest point: Lac Assal -155 m highest point: Moussa Ali 2,063 mLanguages: official: Arabic, French Other: Somali, widely spoken; AfarPopulation: 721,000 (UN 2005)Age structure: 0-14 years: 43.2% 15-64 years: 53.7% 65 years and over: 3.1%Life expectancy: 51 years (men), 54 years (women)Religions: Muslim 94%; Christian 6%Literacy: 67.9% of total populationInternet domain: djCurrency: Djibouti FrancThe Republic of Djibouti is located on the northeast coast of the Horn of Africa, at the junction of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. It is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Ethiopia to the west and southwest, and Somalia to the south. Its coastline is 370m long and forms the narrow Gulf of Tadjoura. The northern coast near the Eritrean border faces the Strait of Bab al Mandab on the southwestern tip of Yemen. The capital, Djibouti, is located on the southern coast of the Gulf and is the country’s main port.Djibouti is divided into six regions centered on its main towns: 'Ali Sabih Region, Arta Region, Dikhil Region, Djibouti City, Obock Region, Tadjoura Region. Lake Abhe is in the southwestern corner of Dikhil region, Lake Asal is located in the south of Tadjoura region. The main towns in Djibouti are Djibouti city, Tadjoura, Obock, Ali Sabieh, and Dikhil.Terrain
The landscape varies form rugged mountains in the north to a series of low desert plains separated by plateaus in the south and west. Much of the terrain is blanketed with volcanic basalt. The highest point in the country is Mt Moussa Ali (2068m or 6768 ft), the lowest is Lake Asal, 155m (514 ft) below sea level.
Djibouti is one of the hottest countries in the world. The average temperature is about 37C (99F) in the hot months, and 31C (87F) in the cool months which run form October – April. In mid-summer the dry and dusty khamsin wind blows form the inland desert. Rainfall is less than 125mm per year and vegetation is sparse, except along the coast of Tadjoura, which is a fertile area with crop production of fruit and vegetables.
At the entrance to the Gulf of Tadjourah, north Djibouti city, a large reef plateau forms the base of the islands of Mousha and Maskali. The islands are surrounded by extensive coral reefs. The Haramous-Loyada wetland lies on the south-eastern coast between the capital and Loyada at the Somali border. It is shallow and sandy with several estuaries. People
The people of the Republic of Djibouti are divided into two main groups: the Afars live in the sparsely populated north and west and had sultanates in this region and into Ethiopia. The Issas are concentrated in the capital and in the southeast and are related to the Somalis. Both groups are Muslim. Most of the country’s population lives in the capital city Djibouti, (395,000) while the rest are nomadic herders.
Djibouti has experienced economic hardship as a result of droughts and refugees from other countries in the Horn of Africa. There were around 20,000 Somali refugees in the country in 2000.
Djibouti’s port is a free trade zone with modern container facilities. The country derives income from port services to Ethiopia and other landlocked African countries; it serves as a refueling and transshipment location for goods entering and leaving East Africa. There is an international airport at Ambouli. There is other transshipment overland and by sea to neighboring countries.
France and the US have troops stationed in Djibouti, which also contributes to the country's income.
Scanty rainfall limits agricultural yield to small quantities of fruits and vegetables, and 90% of food is imported from France and Ethiopia.
Djibouti is a source, transit, and destination country for trafficking in women and children. The government is making significant efforts to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
Djibouti has limited deposits of minerals: iron ore, copper and gypsum which are not being exploited, its geothermal resources are being developed.
Education and Cultural life
Education is free and run by the state. About two thirds of the population is literate. The Université de Djibouti is located in the capital city.
As a port city there is some entertainment available. There is one radio and TV station which broadcasts in Arabic, French, Afar and Somali. The government sponsors organizations that are dedicated to preserving traditional culture and dance.
Djibouti has been inhabited by pastoral nomads from the Afar tribes of Ethiopian origin and the Issa tribes of Somali origin. Islam was introduced in 825 AD and Arab traders controlled the region until the 16th century. The French arrived in 1862, looking for a strategic position on the Red Sea. They negotiated with the Afar sultans for the right to settle on the northern shore of the Gulf of Tadjoura in the town of Obock.In 1888 the French established the colony of Somaliland and started building Djibouti city on the southern shore of the Gulf of Tadjoura. It replaced Obocka as the capital of the colony. By 1917 the French had completed the Djibouti-Addis Ababa railway, which still the backbone of Djibouti’s transport and services-based economy.Modern History and Govenrment In 1946 Djibouti was made an overseas territory within the French Union with its own legislature and representation in the French parliament. In 1949 the Issas demonstrated against the colonial powers, calling for the reunification of Italian, British and French Somaliland and the expulsion of all colonial powers. The Afars supported French rule, so the French put Ali Aref and his fellow Afars in control of local government. A 60% vote for continued French rule in 1967 was achieved by the expulsion of ethnic Somalis and the arrest of opposition leaders, and caused serious riots in the capital. Aref resigned in 1976, and Djibouti gained independence from France on June 22, 1977. It was the last French colony on the African mainland to win independence. Hassan Gouled Aptidon, the leader of the independence movement, was elected president. Djibouti established a peaceful existence through strict neutrality in regional affairs, and a balance between the two main ethnic groups.In 1979 Hassan Gouled established the People's Progress Assembly party, and in 1981 a new constitution made the People's Progress Assembly (RPP) the only legal party. Treaties of friendship were signed with Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and SudanA new multiparty constitution was approved by referendum on September 4, 1992. The same year, fighting erupted between government forces and Afar Front for Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD) in the northeast. Gouled was re-elected president in 1993, and in 1994 a power-sharing agreement peace agreement was reached with Afar FRUD ending the civil war. In 1999, Djibouti's first multi-party presidential elections resulted in the election of Ismail Omar Guelleh; he was the sole candidate and was re-elected to a second and final term in 2005.In September 2002, a 1992 law allowing only four parties to compete in elections expired, paving the way to full multi-party democracy. The first multi-party elections took place in January 2003. A bloc of four pro-government parties supporting President Guelleh, known as the Union pour la Majorité Présidentielle (UMP; Union for the Presidential Majority), took all 65 parliamentary seats.