Republic. Gained independence from France in 1977.
Head of state:
President Ismail Omar Guelleh since 1999.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed since 2013.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. Rounded two-pin plugs are used.
Djibouti was originally inhabited by nomadic tribes, the main ones being the Afars and the Issas, who are strongly linked to Ethiopia and Somalia respectively. In 1862, the French signed a treaty with the Afar leaders, giving them land on the north coast. During the rest of the 19th century, Djibouti gradually became more firmly associated with France.
In 1945, French Somaliland (as the area was called) was declared an 'overseas territory' and in 1967, it became the French territory of the 'Afars and Issas'. In 1977, the French agreed to withdraw and the country achieved independence.
Controlling access to the Red Sea, Djibouti is of major strategic importance. During the Gulf War it was the base of operations for the French military, who continue to maintain a significant presence, contributing directly and indirectly to more than half the country's income.
Last updated: 30 July 2014
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the border with Eritrea.
There is a high threat from terrorism. There are credible reports that Al Shabaab plan, and have the capability, to attack targets in Djibouti, including western interests.
A suicide bombing at La Chaumiere restaurant in Djibouti city on 24 May resulted in a number of fatalities and serious casualties, including western nationals. Exercise extreme vigilance in public places frequented by foreigners.
There is no British Embassy in Djibouti. The British Honorary Consul in Djibouti can offer limited help. If you need consular assistance outside office hours you should contact the British Embassy in Addis Ababa.
Be aware of the risk of banditry if you travel outside the capital city.
Piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. See Sea travel