Basic Data


Official Country Name: Republic of Djibouti
Region (Map name): Africa
Population: 460,700
Language(s): French, Arabic, Somali, Afar
Literacy rate: 46.2%

Despite an urbanized context that might be expected to foster a thriving press, media activity is in fact not extensive in the tiny Republic of Djibouti—Républic de Djibouti (French), Jumhuriyah Djibouti (Arabic)— formerly French Somaliland. Constraining influences are a low literacy rate, little available advanced education, high unemployment, and the ongoing historical patterns of a socially and politically closed society.

The country has a strategic location near oil reserves on the shipping lane linking the Gulf of Aden with the Red Sea. Independence came in 1977, and a 1992 constitution provided for limited multiparty elections. A late-1994 peace accord ended a three-year uprising by Afar rebels.

The country, with barren terrain covering about 9,000 square miles, is over eighty percent urban, with most people living in the capital, Djibouti, a commercially active center serviced by several international airlines. French aid bolsters the economy, and unemployment is high.

The estimated population in the year 2000 was 460,700. Adult literacy in 1995 was 46.2 percent, with the literacy rate for men about twice as high as that for women. Students at institutions of higher education numbered 130.

French and Arabic are the official languages. The use of Somali and Afar as native tongues reflects the ethnic backgrounds of the populace, which is ninety-four percent Muslim.

Newspapers include La Nation de Djibouti , a pro-government weekly, and Carrefour Africain , a Roman Catholic publication issued twice a month. Circulation numbers are low.

The local news agency is Agence Djiboutienne de Press (ADP). Agence France-Presse also has an office in Djibouti.

The state-run Radiodiffusion-Télévision de Djibouti broadcasts in French, Somali, Afar, and Arabic. In 1998, citizens owned about 53,000 radios and 29,000 television sets; the one television transmitter in Djibouti was at that time on the air for thirty-five hours a week.

By 1995, about 1000 personal computers were in use, and figures for the year 2000 showed about 1000 Internet users.


Banks, Arthur S., and Thomas C. Muller, ed. Political Handbook of the World, 1999. Binghamton, NY: CSA Publications, 1999.

Turner, Barry, ed. The Statesman's Yearbook: The Politics, Cultures, and Economies of the World, 2000. 136th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999.

World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2002.

New York: World Almanac Books, 2002.

Roy Neil Graves

Also read article about Djibouti from Wikipedia

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