Exploring Djibouti: A Jewel in Eastern Africa

Djibouti, a relatively small nation located in Eastern Africa, is a land of contrasts and natural beauty. Bordered by Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia, and facing the vast expanse of the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, this country is a strategic hub for commerce and shipping. Despite its limited size, with an area of approximately 23,200 sq km, Djibouti boasts a variety of landscapes ranging from coastal plains to high mountains and desert terrains.

Geography and Climate

At the heart of Djibouti’s geography is a landscape characterized by a coastal plain, central mountains, and a plateau. The country’s terrain is mainly desert, reflecting its torrid and dry climate. Despite this, it houses several significant geographical landmarks, including Lac Assal, the lowest point at -155 meters below sea level, and Moussa Ali, reaching an elevation of 2,021 meters. Djibouti’s coastline stretches over 314 km, providing not only breathtaking vistas but also access to one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

Natural Resources and Land Use

Djibouti’s natural resources are as diverse as its landscape, with potential for geothermal power, and deposits of gold, clay, granite, limestone, marble, and salt among others. Its agricultural land constitutes 73.40% of the territory, though the arable areas primarily support fruits, vegetables, and livestock, including goats, sheep, and camels. The country’s focus on utilizing its irrigable land, estimated at 10 sq km in 2012, underscores efforts to optimize its agricultural output.

Population and Culture

With a total population estimated at 921,804 in July 2020, Djibouti is notable for its concentrated urban population, particularly in the capital city of Djibouti, which hosts over 600,000 individuals. The urbanization rate stood at an estimated 78.10% in 2020, indicating a significant migration towards urban centers. French and Arabic serve as the official languages, reflecting the country’s colonial history and cultural heritage.


The economy of Djibouti is anchored in its strategic location, benefiting significantly from its role in shipping and logistics. The construction and agricultural processing sectors also play critical roles in the nation’s economic framework. Despite challenges in diversification, Djibouti has harnessed its position to facilitate trade within the region, particularly with Ethiopia, Somalia, Qatar, Brazil, Yemen, and the United States. Its export spectrum ranges from reexports to hides, skins, and scrap metal, while it predominantly imports foods, beverages, transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, and clothing.

Trade Partners

Djibouti’s trade relationships underline its strategic economic positioning. Ethiopia emerges as its largest export partner, followed by Somalia and Qatar, highlighting regional connectivity. Conversely, its import market is dominated by the UAE, France, Saudi Arabia, China, and Ethiopia, showcasing a diverse network of global trade links.

Infrastructure and Development

In the realm of infrastructure and development, Djibouti faces significant challenges and opportunities. Approximately 400,000 individuals were without electricity as of 2016, indicating a need for enhanced electrification projects. Nonetheless, the country has seen improvements in its GDP per capita, estimated at $3,600 in 2017, underscoring gradual economic growth and development.


Djibouti, with its unique position in Eastern Africa, offers a fascinating study of contrasts—from its arid deserts to the bustling port city of Djibouti. As the country continues to leverage its strategic location and natural resources, it stands on the cusp of further integration into regional and global economies. Despite facing challenges related to its climate and infrastructure, Djibouti’s prospects for growth and development remain promising, making it a noteworthy nation in the African continent.

Country data

Country Code DJ
Region Africa
Surface 23200 sq km
Land Surface 23180 sq km
Water Surface 20 sq km
Agricultural Surface 73.40%
Forest Surface 0.20%
Lowest Elevation Point Lac Assal -155 m
Highest Elevation Point Moussa Ali 2,021 m
GDP / capita $3,600 (2017 est.)