Country profile: Djibouti

Country profile: Djibouti
Facts and staticstics on Djibouti including history, population, politics, geography, economy, religion and climate
Monday 20 April 2009
Map of Djibouti. Source: Graphic
Potted history of the country: The nomadic Afars and Issas inhabited Djibouti hundreds of years before the French colonised it in the 19th century. It was renamed the French Territory of the Afars and Issas in 1967. Ten years later Djibouti won its independence, with Hassan Gouled Aptidon ushering in an authoritarian one-party state. Civil war erupted in the 1990s. In 2000 the government and the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy signed a peace treaty.
At a glance
Location: Horn of Africa, at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the Gulf of Aden
Neighbours: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somaliland
Size: 8,958 square miles
Population: 848,000 (168th)
Density: 94.7 people per square mile
Capital city: Djibouti (population 583,000)
Head of state: President Ismael Omar GellehHead of government: Prime minister Dileita Mohamed Dileita
Currency: Djibouti franc
Time zone: Djibouti zone (+3 hours)
International dialling code: +253
Political pressure points:
President Ismail Omar Guelleh came to power in the country's first multi-party elections in 1999. He has close ties to France, which maintains a strong military presence. As a frontline state in the war on terrorism, Djibouti hosts the only US military base in Africa. High unemployment is a major problem.
Population mix: Somali 60%, Afar 35%, French, Arab, Ethiopian, Italian 5%
Religious makeup: Muslim 99%, citizens not identifying with a religion are officially considered to be Muslim
Main languages: French, Arabic, Somali, Afar
Living national icons: Abdourahman Waberi (author), Fathia Ali Bouraleh (athletics, first female Olympian)
Landscape and climate: Positioned at the mouth of the Red Sea on one of the busiest shipping trade routes in the world, Djibouti is the smallest country in the Horn of Africa. The land is largely barren and coastal desert. It has a hot semi-arid climate with a cooler season from October to April.
Highest point: Moussa Ali, 2,028 metres
Area covered by water: Eight square miles
Healthcare and disease: The civil war fractured the healthcare system, and clinics have still not recovered. Vaccination coverage is poor and there is a high incidence of TB, diarrhoeal diseases, malaria and measles. Thirty per cent of children under five are affected by malnutrition.
Average life expectancy (m/f): 53/56
Average number of children per mother: 4.1
Maternal deaths per 100,000 live births: 650
Infant deaths per 1,000 births: 130
Adults HIV/Aids rate: 3.1%
Doctors per 1,000 head of population: 2
Adult literacy rate: 65.5%
Economic outlook: Despite its position on the Gulf of Aden, with a busy port servicing landlocked neighbours, Djibouti is mostly underdeveloped and has few natural resources. The airport, port and banking account for 80% of the GDP.
Main industries: Service industry
Key crops/livestock: Virtually all food supplies imported
Key exports: Machinery and transport equipment
GDP: £393m (166th)
GDP per head: £480
Unemployment rate: 58%
Proportion of global carbon emissions: n/a
Most popular tourist attractions: Islands and beaches in the Gulf of Tadjoura and the Bab al-Mandab; the Marché Central bazaar in the capital.
Local recommendation: Surrounded by dormant volcanos and hot springs in the Danakil desert, Lake Assal, at 155 metres below sea level, is the lowest point in Africa.
Traditional dish: Skoudehkaris (lamb and rice)
Foreign tourist visitors per year: 20,000
Media freedom index: (ranked out of 173): 134
Did you know ... Lake Assal is considered to be among the most saline body of water in the world - only some hypersaline lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica have higher salinity levels.
National anthem:Arise with strength!For we have raised our flagThe flag which has cost us dearWith extremes of thirst and pain
· Information correct on date of first publication, Monday 20 April 2009.

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