Djibouti vs. Eritrea


BackgroundThe French Territory of the Afars and the Issas became Djibouti in 1977. Hassan Gouled APTIDON installed an authoritarian one-party state and proceeded to serve as president until 1999. Unrest among the Afar minority during the 1990s led to a civil war that ended in 2001 with a peace accord between Afar rebels and the Somali Issa-dominated government. In 1999, Djibouti's first multiparty presidential election resulted in the election of Ismail Omar GUELLEH as president; he was reelected to a second term in 2005 and extended his tenure in office via a constitutional amendment, which allowed him to serve a third term in 2011 and begin a fourth term in 2016. Djibouti occupies a strategic geographic location at the intersection of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and serves as an important shipping portal for goods entering and leaving the east African highlands and transshipments between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The government holds longstanding ties to France, which maintains a significant military presence in the country, and has strong ties with the US. Djibouti hosts several thousand members of US armed services at US-run Camp Lemonnier.
"After independence from Italian colonial control in 1941 and 10 years of British administrative control, the UN established Eritrea as an autonomous region within the Ethiopian federation in 1952. Ethiopia's full annexation of Eritrea as a province 10 years later sparked a violent 30-year struggle for independence that ended in 1991 with Eritrean rebels defeating government forces. Eritreans overwhelmingly approved independence in a 1993 referendum. ISAIAS Afworki has been Eritrea's only president since independence; his rule, particularly since 2001, has been highly autocratic and repressive. His government has created a highly militarized society by pursuing an unpopular program of mandatory conscription into national service, sometimes of indefinite length. A two-and-a-half-year border war with Ethiopia that erupted in 1998 ended under UN auspices in December 2000. A UN peacekeeping operation was established that monitored a 25 km-wide Temporary Security Zone. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) created in April 2003 was tasked ""to delimit and demarcate the colonial treaty border based on pertinent colonial treaties (1900, 1902, and 1908) and applicable international law."" The EEBC on 30 November 2007 remotely demarcated the border, assigning the town of Badme to Eritrea, despite Ethiopia's maintaining forces there from the time of the 1998-2000 war. Eritrea insisted that the UN terminate its peacekeeping mission on 31 July 2008. Eritrea has accepted the EEBC's ""virtual demarcation"" decision and repeatedly called on Ethiopia to remove its troops. Ethiopia has not accepted the demarcation decision, and neither party has entered into meaningful dialogue to resolve the impasse. Eritrea is subject to several UN Security Council Resolutions (initially in 2009 and renewed annually) imposing an arms embargo and a travel ban and assets freeze on certain individuals, in view of evidence that it has supported armed opposition groups in the region.


LocationEastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, between Eritrea and Somalia
Eastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Djibouti and Sudan
Geographic coordinates11 30 N, 43 00 E
15 00 N, 39 00 E
Map referencesAfrica
Areatotal: 23,200 sq km
land: 23,180 sq km
water: 20 sq km
total: 117,600 sq km
land: 101,000 sq km
water: 16,600 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly smaller than New Jersey
slightly larger than Pennsylvania
Land boundariestotal: 528 km
border countries (3): Eritrea 125 km, Ethiopia 342 km, Somalia 61 km
total: 1,840 km
border countries (3): Djibouti 125 km, Ethiopia 1,033 km, Sudan 682 km
Coastline314 km
2,234 km (mainland on Red Sea 1,151 km, islands in Red Sea 1,083 km)
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climatedesert; torrid, dry
hot, dry desert strip along Red Sea coast; cooler and wetter in the central highlands (up to 61 cm of rainfall annually, heaviest June to September); semiarid in western hills and lowlands
Terraincoastal plain and plateau separated by central mountains
dominated by extension of Ethiopian north-south trending highlands, descending on the east to a coastal desert plain, on the northwest to hilly terrain and on the southwest to flat-to-rolling plains
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 430 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Lac Assal -155 m
highest point: Moussa Ali 2,028 m
mean elevation: 853 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: near Kulul within the Danakil Depression -75 m
highest point: Soira 3,018 m
Natural resourcespotential geothermal power, gold, clay, granite, limestone, marble, salt, diatomite, gypsum, pumice, petroleum
gold, potash, zinc, copper, salt, possibly oil and natural gas, fish
Land useagricultural land: 73.4%
arable land 0.1%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 73.3%
forest: 0.2%
other: 26.4% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 75.1%
arable land 6.8%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 68.3%
forest: 15.1%
other: 9.8% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land10 sq km (2012)
210 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsearthquakes; droughts; occasional cyclonic disturbances from the Indian Ocean bring heavy rains and flash floods
volcanism: experiences limited volcanic activity; Ardoukoba (elev. 298 m) last erupted in 1978; Manda-Inakir, located along the Ethiopian border, is also historically active
frequent droughts, rare earthquakes and volcanoes; locust swarms
volcanism: Dubbi (elev. 1,625 m), which last erupted in 1861, was the country's only historically active volcano until Nabro (2,218 m) came to life on 12 June 2011
Environment - current issuesinadequate supplies of potable water; limited arable land; desertification; endangered species
deforestation; desertification; soil erosion; overgrazing; loss of infrastructure from civil warfare
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notestrategic location near world's busiest shipping lanes and close to Arabian oilfields; terminus of rail traffic into Ethiopia; mostly wasteland; Lac Assal (Lake Assal) is the lowest point in Africa and the saltiest lake in the world
strategic geopolitical position along world's busiest shipping lanes; Eritrea retained the entire coastline of Ethiopia along the Red Sea upon de jure independence from Ethiopia on 24 May 1993


Population846,687 (July 2016 est.)
5,869,869 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 31.71% (male 134,604/female 133,840)
15-24 years: 21.54% (male 85,805/female 96,587)
25-54 years: 38.37% (male 134,945/female 189,930)
55-64 years: 4.7% (male 18,257/female 21,538)
65 years and over: 3.68% (male 13,992/female 17,189) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 40.66% (male 1,199,355/female 1,187,467)
15-24 years: 19.39% (male 566,199/female 571,743)
25-54 years: 32.33% (male 933,825/female 963,812)
55-64 years: 3.73% (male 93,325/female 125,411)
65 years and over: 3.9% (male 97,248/female 131,484) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 23.5 years
male: 21.8 years
female: 24.9 years (2016 est.)
total: 19.4 years
male: 19 years
female: 19.9 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate2.18% (2016 est.)
0.81% (2016 est.)
Birth rate23.6 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
30.1 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate7.6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
7.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate5.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
-14.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.89 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.71 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.85 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.84 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.74 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 47.2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 54.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 40.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 45.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 52.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 38.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 63.2 years
male: 60.7 years
female: 65.8 years (2016 est.)
total population: 64.9 years
male: 62.4 years
female: 67.5 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate2.35 children born/woman (2016 est.)
4.07 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate1.55% (2015 est.)
0.61% (2015 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Djiboutian(s)
adjective: Djiboutian
noun: Eritrean(s)
adjective: Eritrean
Ethnic groupsSomali 60%, Afar 35%, other 5% (includes French, Arab, Ethiopian, and Italian)
nine recognized ethnic groups: Tigrinya 55%, Tigre 30%, Saho 4%, Kunama 2%, Rashaida 2%, Bilen 2%, other (Afar, Beni Amir, Nera) 5% (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS9,400 (2015 est.)
14,100 (2015 est.)
ReligionsMuslim 94%, Christian 6%
Muslim, Coptic Christian, Roman Catholic, Protestant
HIV/AIDS - deaths600 (2015 est.)
500 (2015 est.)
LanguagesFrench (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar
Tigrinya (official), Arabic (official), English (official), Tigre, Kunama, Afar, other Cushitic languages
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: dengue fever (2016)
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever (2016)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 6 years
male: 7 years
female: 6 years (2011)
total: 5 years
male: 6 years
female: 5 years (2014)
Urbanizationurban population: 77.3% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.6% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 22.6% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 5.11% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 97.4% of population
rural: 64.7% of population
total: 90% of population
urban: 2.6% of population
rural: 35.3% of population
total: 10% of population (2015 est.)
urban: 73.2% of population
rural: 53.3% of population
total: 57.8% of population
urban: 26.8% of population
rural: 46.7% of population
total: 42.2% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 59.8% of population
rural: 5.1% of population
total: 47.4% of population
urban: 40.2% of population
rural: 94.9% of population
total: 52.6% of population (2015 est.)
urban: 44.5% of population
rural: 7.3% of population
total: 15.7% of population
urban: 55.5% of population
rural: 92.7% of population
total: 84.3% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationDJIBOUTI (capital) 529,000 (2015)
ASMARA (capital) 804,000 (2015)
Maternal mortality rate229 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
501 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight29.8% (2012)
38.8% (2010)
Health expenditures10.6% of GDP (2014)
3.3% of GDP (2014)
Hospital bed density1.4 beds/1,000 population (2012)
0.7 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate8.5% (2014)
3.4% (2014)
Demographic profileDjibouti is a poor, predominantly urban country, characterized by high rates of illiteracy, unemployment, and childhood malnutrition. More than 75% of the population lives in cities and towns (predominantly in the capital, Djibouti). The rural population subsists primarily on nomadic herding. Prone to droughts and floods, the country has few natural resources and must import more than 80% of its food from neighboring countries or Europe. Health care, particularly outside the capital, is limited by poor infrastructure, shortages of equipment and supplies, and a lack of qualified personnel. More than a third of health care recipients are migrants because the services are still better than those available in their neighboring home countries. The nearly universal practice of female genital cutting reflects Djibouti’s lack of gender equality and is a major contributor to obstetrical complications and its high rates of maternal and infant mortality. A 1995 law prohibiting the practice has never been enforced.
Because of its political stability and its strategic location at the confluence of East Africa and the Gulf States along the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, Djibouti is a key transit point for migrants and asylum seekers heading for the Gulf States and beyond. Each year some hundred thousand people, mainly Ethiopians and some Somalis, journey through Djibouti, usually to the port of Obock, to attempt a dangerous sea crossing to Yemen. However, with the escalation of the ongoing Yemen conflict, Yemenis began fleeing to Djibouti in March 2015, with more than 35,000 arriving by April 2016. Most Yemenis remain unregistered and head for Djibouti City rather than seeking asylum at one of Djibouti’s three spartan refugee camps. Djibouti has been hosting refugees and asylum seekers, predominantly Somalis and lesser numbers of Ethiopians and Eritreans, at camps for 20 years, despite lacking potable water, food shortages, and unemployment.
Eritrea is a persistently poor country that has made progress in some socioeconomic categories but not in others. Education and human capital formation are national priorities for facilitating economic development and eradicating poverty. To this end, Eritrea has made great strides in improving adult literacy – doubling the literacy rate over the last 20 years – in large part because of its successful adult education programs. The overall literacy rate was estimated to be almost 74% in 2015; more work needs to be done to raise female literacy and school attendance among nomadic and rural communities. Subsistence farming fails to meet the needs of Eritrea’s growing population because of repeated droughts, dwindling arable land, overgrazing, soil erosion, and a shortage of farmers due to conscription and displacement. The government’s emphasis on spending on defense over agriculture and its lack of foreign exchange to import food also contribute to food insecurity.
Eritrea has been a leading refugee source country since at least the 1960s, when its 30-year war for independence from Ethiopia began. Since gaining independence in 1993, Eritreans have continued migrating to Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Egypt, or Israel because of a lack of basic human rights or political freedom, educational and job opportunities, or to seek asylum because of militarization. Eritrea’s large diaspora has been a source of vital remittances, funding its war for independence and providing 30% of the country’s GDP annually since it became independent.
In the last few years, Eritreans have increasingly been trafficked and held hostage by Bedouins in the Sinai Desert, where they are victims of organ harvesting, rape, extortion, and torture. Some Eritrean trafficking victims are kidnapped after being smuggled to Sudan or Ethiopia, while others are kidnapped from within or around refugee camps or crossing Eritrea’s borders. Eritreans composed approximately 90% of the conservatively estimated 25,000-30,000 victims of Sinai trafficking from 2009-2013, according to a 2013 consultancy firm report.
Contraceptive prevalence rate19% (2012)
8.4% (2010)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 58.5
youth dependency ratio: 51.9
elderly dependency ratio: 6.6
potential support ratio: 15.1 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 83.2
youth dependency ratio: 78.4
elderly dependency ratio: 4.8
potential support ratio: 20.7 (2015 est.)


Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Djibouti
conventional short form: Djibouti
local long form: Republique de Djibouti/Jumhuriyat Jibuti
local short form: Djibouti/Jibuti
former: French Territory of the Afars and Issas, French Somaliland
etymology: the country name derives from the capital city of Djibouti
"conventional long form: State of Eritrea
conventional short form: Eritrea
local long form: Hagere Ertra
local short form: Ertra
former: Eritrea Autonomous Region in Ethiopia
etymology: the country name derives from the ancient Greek appellation ""Erythra Thalassa"" meaning Red Sea, which is the major water body bordering the country
Government typesemi-presidential republic
presidential republic
Capitalname: Djibouti
geographic coordinates: 11 35 N, 43 09 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
name: Asmara (Asmera)
geographic coordinates: 15 20 N, 38 56 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions6 districts (cercles, singular - cercle); Ali Sabieh, Arta, Dikhil, Djibouti, Obock, Tadjourah
6 regions (zobatat, singular - zoba); Anseba, Debub (South), Debubawi K'eyih Bahri (Southern Red Sea), Gash Barka, Ma'akel (Central), Semenawi Keyih Bahri (Northern Red Sea)
Independence27 June 1977 (from France)
24 May 1993 (from Ethiopia)
National holidayIndependence Day, 27 June (1977)
Independence Day, 24 May (1991)
Constitutionapproved by referendum 4 September 1992; amended 2006, 2008, 2010 (2016)
adopted 23 May 1997 (not fully implemented); note - drafting of a new constitution, which began in 2014, continued into 2016 (2016)
Legal systemmixed legal system based primarily on the French civil code (as it existed in 1997), Islamic religious law (in matters of family law and successions), and customary law
mixed legal system of civil, customary, and Islamic religious law
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Ismail Omar GUELLEH (since 8 May 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil MOHAMED (since 1 April 2013)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term; (constitution amended in 2010 to allow a third term); election last held on 8 April 2016 (next to be held by 2021); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Ismail Omar GUELLEH reelected president for a fourth term; percent of vote - Ismail Omar GUELLEH (RPP) 87%, Omar Elmi KHAIREH (represented the USN) 7.3%, other 5.6%
chief of state: President ISAIAS Afworki (since 8 June 1993); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government and is head of the State Council and National Assembly
head of government: President ISAIAS Afworki (since 8 June 1993)
cabinet: State Council appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the National Assembly for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); the only election was held on 8 June 1993, following independence from Ethiopia (next election postponed indefinitely)
election results: ISAIAS Afworki elected president by the transitional National Assembly; percent of National Assembly vote - ISAIAS Afworki (PFDJ) 95%, other 5%
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale, formerly the Chamber of Deputies (65 seats; 52 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 13 directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 22 February 2013 (next to be held in 2018)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 55, USN 10
description: unicameral National Assembly or Hagerawi Baito (150 seats; 75 members indirectly elected by the ruling party and 75 directly elected by simple majority vote; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: in May 1997, following the adoption of the new constitution, 75 members of the PFDJ Central Committee (the old Central Committee of the EPLF), 60 members of the 527-member Constituent Assembly, which had been established in 1997 to discuss and ratify the new constitution, and 15 representatives of Eritreans living abroad were formed into a Transitional National Assembly to serve as the country's legislative body until countrywide elections to form a National Assembly were held; although only 75 of 150 members of the Transitional National Assembly were elected, the constitution stipulates that once past the transition stage, all members of the National Assembly will be elected by secret ballot of all eligible voters; National Assembly elections scheduled for December 2001 were postponed indefinitely due to the war with Ethiopia
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of NA magistrates); Constitutional Council (consists of 6 magistrates)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court magistrates appointed by the president with the advice of the Superior Council of the Magistracy or CSM, a 10-member body consisting of 4 judges, 3 members (non parliamentarians and judges) appointed by the president, and 3 appointed by the National Assembly president or speaker; magistrates appointed for life with retirement at age 65; Constitutional Council magistrate appointments - 2 by the president of the republic, 2 by the president of the National Assembly, and 2 by the CSM; magistrates appointed for 8-year, non-renewable terms
subordinate courts: High Court of Appeal; 5 Courts of First Instance; customary courts; State Court (replaced sharia courts in 2003)
highest court(s): High Court (consists of 20 judges and organized into civil, commercial, criminal, labor, administrative, and customary sections)
judge selection and term of office: High Court judges appointed by the president
subordinate courts: regional/zonal courts; community courts; special courts; sharia courts (for issues dealing with Muslim marriage, inheritance, and family); military courts
Political parties and leadersAlliance of Movements for the Alternation and the Nation or AMAN (CDU, RADDE, ARD)
Democratic National Party or PND [Abdallah Mohamed DABALEH]
Democratic National Party or PND (Abdourahman Mohamed ALLALEH)
Democratic Renewal Party or PRD [Abdillahi HAMARITEH]
Djibouti Development Party or PDD [Mohamed Daoud CHEHEM]
Front pour la Restauration de l'Unite Democratique or FRUD [Ali Mohamed DAOUD]
Movement for Development and Liberty or MODEL [Ismail Ahmed WABERI]
People's Rally for Progress or RPP [Ismail Omar GUELLEH] (governing party)
Peoples Social Democratic Party or PPSD [Hasna Moumin BAHDON]
Republican Alliance for Democracy or ARD [Ahmed YOUSSOUF]
Republican Alliance for Democracy or ARD (Kassim Ahmed DINI)
Union for a Presidential Majority or UMP (a coalition of parties including RPP, FRUD, PND, and PPSD)
Union for Democracy and Justice or UDJ [Ilya Ismail GUEDI Hared]
Union for National Salvation or USN (an umbrella coalition comprising PDD, PND, ARD-DINI faction, and UDJ) [Ahmed Youssouf HOUMED]
People's Front for Democracy and Justice or PFDJ [ISAIAS Afworki] (the only party recognized by the government)
note: a National Assembly committee drafted a law on political parties in January 2001, but the full National Assembly never debated or voted on it
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge D’Affaires Mark BOULWARE (since February 2017)
chancery: 1156 15th Street NW, Suite 515, Washington, DC 20005
telephone: [1] (202) 331-0270
FAX: [1] (202) 331-0302
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires BERHANE Gebrehiwet Solomon (since 15 March 2011)
chancery: 1708 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 319-1991
FAX: [1] (202) 319-1304
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Mark BOULWARE (since February 2017)
embassy: Lot 350-B, Haramouss
mailing address: B.P. 185, Djibouti
telephone: [253] 21 45 30 00
FAX: [253] 21 45 31 29
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Natalie E. BROWN (since September 2016)
embassy: 179 Ala Street, Asmara
mailing address: P.O. Box 211, Asmara
telephone: [291] (1) 120004
FAX: [291] (1) 127584
Flag descriptiontwo equal horizontal bands of light blue (top) and light green with a white isosceles triangle based on the hoist side bearing a red five-pointed star in the center; blue stands for sea and sky and the Issa Somali people; green symbolizes earth and the Afar people; white represents peace; the red star recalls the struggle for independence and stands for unity
red isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) dividing the flag into two right triangles; the upper triangle is green, the lower one is blue; a gold wreath encircling a gold olive branch is centered on the hoist side of the red triangle; green stands for the country's agriculture economy, red signifies the blood shed in the fight for freedom, and blue symbolizes the bounty of the sea; the wreath-olive branch symbol is similar to that on the first flag of Eritrea from 1952; the shape of the red triangle broadly mimics the shape of the country
note: one of several flags where a prominent component of the design reflects the shape of the country; other such flags are those of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, and Vanuatu
National anthem"name: ""Jabuuti"" (Djibouti)
lyrics/music: Aden ELMI/Abdi ROBLEH
note: adopted 1977
"name: ""Ertra, Ertra, Ertra"" (Eritrea, Eritrea, Eritrea)
lyrics/music: SOLOMON Tsehaye Beraki/Isaac Abraham MEHAREZGI and ARON Tekle Tesfatsion
note: adopted 1993; upon independence from Ethiopia
International law organization participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)red star; national colors: light blue, green, white, red
camel; national colors: green, red, blue
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the mother must be a citizen of Djibouti
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Eritrea
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 20 years


Economy - overviewDjibouti's economy is based on service activities connected with the country's strategic location as a deepwater port on the Red Sea. Three-fourths of Djibouti's inhabitants live in the capital city; the remainder are mostly nomadic herders. Scant rainfall and less than 4% arable land limits crop production to small quantities of fruits and vegetables, and most food must be imported.

Djibouti provides services as both a transit port for the region and an international transshipment and refueling center. Imports, exports, and re-exports represent 70% of port activity at Djibouti's container terminal. Reexports consist primarily of coffee from landlocked neighbor Ethiopia. Djibouti 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 official unemployment rate of nearly 50% - with youth unemployment near 80% - continues to be a major problem. Inflation was at 3% in 2014-2016, due to low international food prices and a decline in electricity tariffs.

Djibouti’s reliance on diesel-generated electricity and imported food and water leave average consumers vulnerable to global price shocks, though in mid-2015 Djibouti passed new legislation to liberalize the energy sector. The government has emphasized infrastructure development for transportation and energy and Djibouti – with the help of foreign partners, particularly China – has begun to increase and modernize its port capacity.
Since formal independence from Ethiopia in 1993, Eritrea has faced many economic problems, including lack of financial resources and chronic drought, which have been exacerbated by restrictive economic policies. Eritrea has a command economy under the control of the sole political party, the People's Front for Democracy and Justice. Like the economies of many African nations, a large share of the population - nearly 80% in Eritrea - is engaged in subsistence agriculture, but the sector only produces a small share of the country's total output.

Since the conclusion of the Ethiopia-Eritrea war in 2000, the government has expanded use of military and party-owned businesses to complete President ISAIAS's development agenda. The government has strictly controlled the use of foreign currency by limiting access and availability; new regulations in 2013 aimed at relaxing currency controls have had little economic effect. Few large private enterprises exist in Eritrea and most operate in conjunction with government partners, including a number of large international mining ventures, which began production in 2013. In late 2015, the government of Eritrea introduced a new currency, retaining the name Nakfa, and restricted the amount of hard currency individuals could withdraw from banks per month. The changeover has resulted in exchange fluctuations and the scarcity of hard currency available in the market.

While reliable statistics on Eritrea are difficult to obtain, erratic rainfall and the percentage of the labor force tied up in national service continue to interfere with agricultural production and economic development. Eritrea's harvests generally cannot meet the food needs of the country without supplemental grain purchases. Copper, potash, and gold production are likely to continue to drive economic growth and government revenue over the next few years, but military spending will continue to compete with development and investment plans.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$3.345 billion (2016 est.)
$3.141 billion (2015 est.)
$2.949 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$9.169 billion (2016 est.)
$8.845 billion (2015 est.)
$8.442 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate6.5% (2016 est.)
6.5% (2015 est.)
6% (2014 est.)
3.7% (2016 est.)
4.8% (2015 est.)
5% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$3,400 (2016 est.)
$3,300 (2015 est.)
$3,100 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$1,300 (2016 est.)
$1,300 (2015 est.)
$1,300 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 2.9%
industry: 20.8%
services: 76.3% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 12.1%
industry: 29.5%
services: 58.5% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line23%
note: percent of population below $1.25 per day at purchasing power parity (2015 est.)
50% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.4%
highest 10%: 30.9% (2002)
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices)3% (2016 est.)
2.7% (2015 est.)
11.8% (2016 est.)
9.8% (2015 est.)
Labor force294,600 (2012)
2.62 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
agriculture: 80%
industry and services: 20% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate60% (2014 est.)
48.4% (2012 est.)
8.6% (2013 est.)
10% (2012 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $685.7 million
expenditures: $885.9 million (2016 est.)
revenues: $1.58 billion
expenditures: $2.165 billion (2016 est.)
Industriesconstruction, agricultural processing, shipping
food processing, beverages, clothing and textiles, light manufacturing, salt, cement
Industrial production growth rate4.7% (2016 est.)
12.2% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productsfruits, vegetables; goats, sheep, camels, animal hides
sorghum, lentils, vegetables, corn, cotton, tobacco, sisal; livestock, goats; fish
Exports$146.1 million (2016 est.)
$141.9 million (2015 est.)
$485.2 million (2016 est.)
$415.3 million (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesreexports, hides and skins, coffee (in transit), scrap metal
gold and other minerals, livestock, sorghum, textiles, food, small industry manufactures
Imports$992 million (2016 est.)
$1.038 billion (2015 est.)
$1.022 billion (2016 est.)
$1.024 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfoods, beverages, transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, clothing
machinery, petroleum products, food, manufactured goods
Debt - external$1.339 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.09 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$820.2 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$831.2 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesDjiboutian francs (DJF) per US dollar -
177.7 (2016 est.)
177.72 (2015 est.)
177.72 (2014 est.)
177.72 (2013 est.)
177.72 (2012 est.)
nakfa (ERN) per US dollar -
15.38 (2016 est.)
15.375 (2015 est.)
15.375 (2014 est.)
15.375 (2013 est.)
15.375 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt60.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
38.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
119.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
121.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$542 million (2016 est.)
-$549 million (2015 est.)
-$3 million (2016 est.)
-$102 million (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$1.894 billion (2016 est.)
$5.352 billion (2016 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate11.7% (31 December 2016 est.)
11.62% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$652 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$597.6 million (31 December 2015 est.)
$5.371 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.774 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$1.207 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.182 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$2.709 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.386 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$1.71 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.572 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$6.058 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.259 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Taxes and other revenues36.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
29.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-10.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
-10.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 60.5%
government consumption: 32%
investment in fixed capital: 42.2%
investment in inventories: 0.4%
exports of goods and services: 34.8%
imports of goods and services: -69.9% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 80.6%
government consumption: 23.4%
investment in fixed capital: 9%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 9.7%
imports of goods and services: -22.8% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving10.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
28.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
18.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
4% of GDP (2016 est.)
1.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
4% of GDP (2014 est.)


Electricity - production400 million kWh (2014 est.)
300 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption400 million kWh (2014 est.)
300 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports0 kWh (2013 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports0 kWh (2013 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Oil - production0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves0 bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
0 bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Natural gas - production0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity100,000 kW (2014 est.)
100,000 kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels98.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
98.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources1.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
1.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption6,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
3,500 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports403 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports6,509 bbl/day (2013 est.)
3,539 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy1.8 million Mt (2013 est.)
800,000 Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 400,000
electrification - total population: 50%
electrification - urban areas: 61%
electrification - rural areas: 14% (2013)
population without electricity: 4,300,000
electrification - total population: 32%
electrification - urban areas: 86%
electrification - rural areas: 17% (2013)


Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 23,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 66,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 312,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 38 (July 2015 est.)
total: 475,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 7 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: telephone facilities in the city of Djibouti are adequate, as are the microwave radio relay connections to outlying areas of the country
domestic: Djibouti Telecom is the sole provider of telecommunications services and utilizes mostly a microwave radio relay network; fiber-optic cable is installed in the capital; rural areas connected via wireless local loop radio systems; mobile cellular coverage is primarily limited to the area in and around Djibouti city
international: country code - 253; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 and EASSy fiber-optic submarine cable systems providing links to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intelsat - Indian Ocean and 1 Arabsat); Medarabtel regional microwave radio relay telephone network (2015)
general assessment: woefully inadequate service provided by state-owned telecom monopoly; most fixed-line telephones are in Asmara; cell phone use only slowly increasing throughout the country; no data service
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership is less than 10 per 100 persons
international: country code - 291 (2015)
Internet country code.dj
Internet userstotal: 99,000
percent of population: 11.9% (July 2015 est.)
total: 71,000
percent of population: 1.1% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediastate-owned Radiodiffusion-Television de Djibouti operates the sole terrestrial TV station, as well as the only 2 domestic radio networks; no private TV or radio stations; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available (2007)
government controls broadcast media with private ownership prohibited; 1 state-owned TV station; state-owned radio operates 2 networks; purchases of satellite dishes and subscriptions to international broadcast media are permitted (2007)


Railwaystotal: 97 km (Djibouti segment of the 756 km Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway)
standard gauge: 97 km 1.435-m gauge (2017)
total: 306 km
narrow gauge: 306 km 0.950-m gauge (2014)
Roadwaystotal: 3,065 km
paved: 1,379 km
unpaved: 1,686 km (2000)
total: 4,010 km
paved: 874 km
unpaved: 3,136 km (2000)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Djibouti
major seaport(s): Assab, Massawa
Airports13 (2013)
13 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
total: 4
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 2 (2013)
total: 9
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)


Military branchesDjibouti Armed Forces (Forces Armees Djiboutiennes, FAD): Djibouti National Army (includes Navy, Djiboutian Air Force (Force Aerienne Djiboutienne, FAD), National Gendarmerie (GN)) (2013)
Eritrean Armed Forces: Eritrean Ground Forces, Eritrean Navy, Eritrean Air Force (includes Air Defense Force) (2011)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for voluntary military service; 16-25 years of age for voluntary military training; no conscription (2012)
18-40 years of age for male and female voluntary and compulsory military service; 16-month conscript service obligation (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international"Djibouti maintains economic ties and border accords with ""Somaliland"" leadership while maintaining some political ties to various factions in Somalia; Kuwait is chief investor in the 2008 restoration and upgrade of the Ethiopian-Djibouti rail link; in 2008, Eritrean troops moved across the border on Ras Doumera peninsula and occupied Doumera Island with undefined sovereignty in the Red Sea
Eritrea and Ethiopia agreed to abide by 2002 Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission's (EEBC) delimitation decision, but neither party responded to the revised line detailed in the November 2006 EEBC Demarcation Statement; Sudan accuses Eritrea of supporting eastern Sudanese rebel groups; in 2008, Eritrean troops moved across the border on Ras Doumera peninsula and occupied Doumera Island with undefined sovereignty in the Red Sea
Trafficking in personscurrent situation: Djibouti is a transit, source, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; economic migrants from East Africa en route to Yemen and other Middle East locations are vulnerable to exploitation in Djibouti; some women and girls may be forced into domestic servitude or prostitution after reaching Djibouti City, the Ethiopia-Djibouti trucking corridor, or Obock – the main crossing point into Yemen; Djiboutian and foreign children may be forced to beg, to work as domestic servants, or to commit theft and other petty crimes
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Djibouti does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, Djibouti was granted a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has a written plan that, if implemented would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; one forced labor trafficker was convicted in 2014 but received a suspended sentence inadequate to deter trafficking; authorities did not investigate or prosecute any other forced labor crimes, any sex trafficking offenses, or any officials complicit in human trafficking, and remained limited in their ability to recognize or protect trafficking victims; official round-ups, detentions, and deportations of non-Djiboutian residents, including children without screening for trafficking victims remained routine; the government did not provide care to victims but supported local NGOs operating centers that assisted victims (2015)
current situation: Eritrea is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor domestically and, to a lesser extent, sex and labor trafficking abroad; the country’s national service program is often abused, with conscripts detained indefinitely and subjected to forced labor; Eritrean migrants, often fleeing national service, face strict exit control procedures and limited access to passports and visas, making them vulnerable to trafficking; Eritrean secondary school children are required to take part in public works projects during their summer breaks and must attend military and educational camp in their final year to obtain a high school graduation certificate and to gain access to higher education and some jobs; some Eritreans living in or near refugee camps, particularly in Sudan, are kidnapped by criminal groups and held for ransom in the Sinai Peninsula and Libya, where they are subjected to forced labor and abuse
tier rating: Tier 3 – Eritrea does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government failed to investigate or prosecute any trafficking offenses or to identify or protect any victims; while the government continued to warn citizens of the dangers of human trafficking through awareness-raising events and poster campaigns, authorities lacked an understanding of the crime, conflating trafficking with transnational migration; Eritrea is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol (2015)

Source: CIA Factbook