World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of Africa

Djibouti Travelling Guide
Djibouti Travelling Guide

General background: The French Territory of the Afars and the Issas became Djibouti in 1977. A peace accord in 1994 ended a three-year uprising by Afars rebels.

Area comparative: Slightly smaller than Massachusetts

Climate: Desert; torrid, dry

Terrain: Coastal plain and plateau separated by central mountains

Population: 472,810 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Somali 60%, Afar 35%, French, Arab, Ethiopian, and Italian 5%

Religions: Muslim 94%, Christian 6%

Language: French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar

Government type: Republic

Capital: Djibouti

Legal system: Based on French civil law system, traditional practices, and Islamic law

Economic overview: The economy is based on service activities connected with the country's strategic location and status as a free trade zone in northeast Africa. Two-thirds of the inhabitants live in the capital city, the remainder being mostly nomadic herders. Scanty rainfall limits crop production to fruits and vegetables, and most food must be imported. Djibouti provides services as both a transit port for the region and an international transhipment and refuelling centre. It has few natural resources and little industry. The nation is, therefore, heavily dependent on foreign assistance to help support its balance of payments and to finance development projects. An unemployment rate of 50% continues to be a major problem. Inflation is not a concern, however, because of the fixed tie of the franc to the US dollar. Per capita consumption dropped an estimated 35% over the last seven years because of recession, civil war, and a high population growth rate (including immigrants and refugees). Faced with a multitude of economic difficulties, the government has fallen in arrears on long-term external debt and has been struggling to meet the stipulations of foreign aid donors. Another factor limiting growth is the negative impact on port activity now that Ethiopia has more trade route options.

Communication/Telephone system: Telephone facilities in the city of Djibouti are adequate as are the microwave radio relay connections to outlying areas of the country.

Places of interest:
Diving and snorkeling around Red Sea coral reefs is fabulous. The town of Djibouti is a boisterous blend of colonial French and modern Arabic, and what it lacks in major attractions it makes up for in buzz. The city is crowded with Arab and African cultures jostling each other's prayer mats, and travelers are often regarded as curios and treated to traditional African hospitality.

Travel tips: