OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Djibouti
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Unitary Multiparty Republic
AREA: 23,310 Sq Km (9,000 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 671,200
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Djibouti is located in North East
Africa. It is bound by Eritrea to the northwest, Ethiopia
to the west and south, Somalia to the southeast and the
Gulf of Aden to the northeast and east. The country can
be divided into three topographical regions. (1.) The coastal
plain which is the fertile area of the country that is irrigated.
(2.) The mountains which back the plains and are of volcanic
origin with the highest point in the country being the Moussa
Ali and (3.) the plateau behind the mountains. The country
is mostly a low lying sand and stone desert. Major Cities
(pop. est.); Djibouti 450,000, Ali Sabih 4,000, Tadjoura
3,500, Dikhil 3,000 (1989). Land Use; forested 0.3%, pastures
8%, agricultural-cultivated and other 91% (1993).
CLIMATE: Djibouti has a semiarid climate that is very hot and
dry. There are two seasons, a dry season from May to October and a relatively
cool season from November to April. The rainfall on the coast usually occurs
between November to March, whereas in the interior it falls between April
to October. Average annual precipitation for Djibouti City is 130 mm (5
inches) and average temperature ranges are from 23 to 29 degrees Celsius
(73 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 31 to 41 degrees Celsius (88
to 106 degrees Fahrenheit) in July.
PEOPLE: Djibouti has an indigenous population of two Hamitic
groups. (1.) The Somalis or Issas who live in the south and represent 62%
of the population and (2.) the Afars who account for 20% of the population
and live in the northern and western areas of the country. Other ethnic
minorities include French, Arabs, Ethiopians, Italians, Greeks, Indians
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 23 persons per sq km (60
persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 80.8% urban, 19.2% rural (1988).
Sex Distribution; 51.8% male, 48.2% female (1983). Life Expectancy at Birth;
45.4 years male, 48.7 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 38% under 15,
34% 15 to 29, 17% 30 to 44, 3% 45 to 49, 8% 50 and over (1983). Birth Rate;
46.5 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 17.8 per 1,000 (1990). Increase Rate;
28.7 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 122.0 per 1,000 live births
RELIGIONS: Around 94% of the population are Sunni Muslims with
the remainder being Roman Catholics, Protestants or Greek Orthodox Christians.
LANGUAGES: The official languages are French and Arabic, although
the national languages are Somali and Afar with Arabic also widely used
on the coast.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: N/A. Literacy;
literate population aged 20 or over 33.7% (1987).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1946 Djibouti became a French
overseas territory. In 1958 the territory voted to join the French Community
which is an economic and cultural organization with links to France and
its territories. In response to calls for independence, mainly from the
majority Somali population, a referendum was held in March 1967 and although
the territory voted to retain its association to France, the Somalis contested
the validity of the result. After nearly a decade of Somali pressure the
territory gained its independence in June 1977. As a result Hassan Gouled,
a Somali, was elected as President while Ahmed Dini, an Afar, was appointed
Prime Minister. In Dec. 1977 Prime Minister Dini and four other Afar ministers
resigned alleging discrimination against Afars. In 1981 Djibouti became
a single party state and Pres. Gouled was reelected without opposition
in 1982 and 1987. In Mar. 1989 ethnic tensions between the two principal
groups led to violence while in April the security forces moved to suppress
unrest among the Afars. In 1990 the unsettled state of affairs in neighboring
Somali caused tensions in Djibouti and during most of the year there were
border disputes with Somali troops re-taking a border area it had lost
in 1989. Further fears have been raised over the influx of large numbers
of refugees from Somalia. In Jan. 1991 there was an unsuccessful coup attempt
led by an Afar, Ali Aref Bourhan that resulted in a number of arrests.
In Feb. 1991 Djibouti and France signed agreements, in which France became
responsible for the country's air and maritime surveillance. On April 8,
1991 an opposition movement leader, Mohammed Moussa Ali Tourtour, was arrested
and in May went on a hunger strike in protest. In Nov. 1991 fighting between
Issa-dominated government forces and the Afar Front for the Restoration
of Unity and Democracy (FRUD) broke out. In Dec. 1991 army forces searching
for Afar guerrillas shot into a crowd killing some eight or more people
further inciting Afar-Issa violence. In Dec. 1991 Pres. Gouled declared
that democratic and multiparty political reforms would have to be approved
by a referendum but only after the FRUD rebels had been forced off the
national territory. In Jan. 1992 fighting between government and FRUD forces
continued while on Feb 25, 1992 French troops were deployed as peace-keepers.
On Feb. 28, 1992 the FRUD rebels declared a unilateral cease-fire which
resulted in the government releasing their leader, Abbate Edo Adou, who
had been detained since Dec. 1991. In 1992 a new constitution that allowed
multiparty politics was approved through a referendum while general elections
held on Dec. 18, 1992 resulted in the Popular Rally for Progress retaining
all 65 legislative seats. In Dec. 1992 fighting broke out in the northeastern
town of Tadjoura between the government and FRUD forces which continued
in Jan. 1993 and resulted in dozens of deaths. On Feb. 4, 1993 Pres. Gouled
reshuffled the government that resulted in a careful ethnic balance within
the Cabinet while in the same month government forces regained control
of FRUD strongholds in the south of the country. On May 7, 1993 Pres. Gouled
was reelected as President following elections.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Franc (DF) divided into
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $448,000,000 (1993). Public
Debt; USD $192,600,000 (1993). Imports; DF 38,103,000,000 (1991). Exports;
DF 3,083,000,000 (1991). Tourism Receipts; USD $13,000,000 (1993). Balance
of Trade; DF -30,669,000,000 (1993). Economically Active Population; 282,000
or 54.2% of total population (1991). Unemployed; 45% (1987).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are France,
Ethiopia, Belgium, Luxembourg, the UK, Italy and Germany.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Cattle, Dates, Fish, Fruit and Vegetables,
Goats, Salt, Sheep.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Banking, Construction, Fishing, Mineral Water
Bottling, Public Administration, Processing of Hides and Skins, Stock Rearing.
MAIN EXPORTS: Hides, Livestock, Skins.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 106 km (66 mi) (1989), passenger-km
293,000,000 (182,062,000 passenger-mi) (1989), cargo ton-km 119,300,000
(81,709,000 short ton-mi) (1989). Roads; length 3,067 km (1,906 mi) (1989).
Vehicles; cars 13,000 (1989), trucks and buses 2,000 (1989). Merchant Marine;
vessels 7 (1990), deadweight tonnage 350 (1990). Air Transport; N/A.
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 1 with a circulation
of 4,000 (1990). Radio; receivers 35,000 (1994). Television; receivers
17,000 (1994). Telephones; units 7,350 (1993).
MILITARY: 8,400 (1995) total active duty personnel with 95.2%
army, 2.4% navy and 2.4% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 6.0% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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