Djibouti is a small independent republic with a democratic government which lies in the Horn of Africa at the southern entrance to the Red Sea and forms part of the North East African Region.
The country consists of the port capital Djibouti where two thirds of the population live, and a surrounding enclave of hinterland.
The official languages are Arabic and French. The local currency is the Djibouti franc. (US$/ Djib Fr – current exchange rate).
The Djibouti oil industry is a key element in its economy as the country has become a regional supply centre for petroleum products.
Electricity is provided by the parastatal utility, Electricite de Djibouti.
The economic centre of the country is at the port of Djibouti, which is linked by rail with Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Djibouti serves as a free trade zone in Northern Africa and the harbour is one of only 3 active ports in the horn of Africa. This makes it useful as a transhipment and refuelling destination.
Nomadic herders graze their cattle, goats and sheep on the limited pastureland. Dates are grown on small areas of irrigated land. Fishing is a small industry and sea salt is a major resource to the country.
The international time zone for Djibouti is GMT +3 and the international dialling code is +253. Djibouti has an international airport served by Air France and the national carrier, Air Djibouti. As at January 1996 all nationals except France require visas in order to visit Djibouti. /P>
Djibouti has a very open economy and there are almost no capital controls. Since 1949, the Djiboutian Franc has been pegged to the US dollar and is freely convertible.