Country Profile

Djibouti Country Profile

In 2014 Djibouti’s economy achieved a growth rate of nearly 6%, according to estimates from the African Development Bank. While unemployment remains a challenge, this growth figure, coupled with a young and expanding population, points to the strong potential of the country. Ports, logistics and associated services remain the dominant economic activity, accounting for more than 90% of GDP, though Djibouti also has some natural advantages. In terms of metals and minerals, the country is home gold, granite, limestone and marble deposits. Djibouti is also looking to leverage its significant geothermal resources to satisfy domestic energy demand. According to World Bank estimates, the country’s population reached 876,200 in 2014 – the majority of which, more than 500,000 people, live in the capital, Djibouti City. Djibouti is also a young country, with more than half of the population under the age of 25. The two official languages are French and Arabic; however, with the ethnic composition of the country consisting mostly of Somalis (60%) and Afars (35%), these groups’ languages are also widely spoken. Djibouti is a relatively young country in political terms. It achieved independence less than 40 years ago and has had just two presidents in that time. Djibouti’s comparative stability in an otherwise volatile region has allowed the country to develop relatively quickly. This chapter contains interviews with President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh; and Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Africa; and viewpoints from John Kerry, US Secretary of State; and Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, Minister of Foreign Affairs.