Sekondi Accra

Ismail Omar Guelleh has been elected to the presidency for a third consective term because of a constitutional amendment allowing him to continue serving. Elections are often synonymous with boycotts because the ruling Rassemblement Populaire pour le Progres and its leader have no chance of losing in elections.

American and French military support for Djibouti is because of its crucial role in regional security. This support is probably the primary reason that it is an outpost of tranquility in the violent Horn of Africa. In particular, the government has endorsed Western concerns about the threats posed by maritime piracy and radical Islam. A major concern is Yemen, from which Al Qaeda conducts operations in the Arabian Peninsula, closely monitored by American intelligence and military units at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. In 2010, the situation deteriorated after several terrorist armed attacks against Western interests. The role of Djibouti based US forces is set to expand because of Yemen. It is considered a country in crisis by western powers. Futhermore, Djibouti's relations with Eritrea are unlikely to improve significantly as the overall situation in the Horn of Africa is static because of the the referendum in Southern Sudan and a continuing border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopa along with the crisis in Somalia.

Somalia is of paramount importance for Djibouti and its foreign allies. Due to continued piracy off the Somali coast, international naval forces will continue to use Djibouti's infrastructure well into the future. In 2010, Japan opened an embassy and asked for approval to build military facilities. Germany is planning to build an embassy in 2011 which will bring additional commerce to the country.

Violence in the Horn of Africa will probably continue into 2011. Some have accused President Guelleh of political "grandstanding" when he announced in September of 2009 that he was sending 500 soldiers to join the African Union mission in Somalia only to renege on that promise. His latest edict is that Djibouti will back a training program for the police. But only time will tell if he is serious about this venture.

The International Monetary Fund forecasts solid economic growth and predicts low inflation will continue in 2010. It states that real GDP growth will rise from 4.5% in 2010 to 5.4% in 2011 and that inflation will remain at about 4%. Instability in the Horn of Africa is having a negative impact on medium term growth because the the government has been subsidizing troops on the eastern border with Eritrea, reducing the amount of funds available infrastructure and social services. However in October 2010, the UK based Stratex International joined Anglo-Gold Ashanti to improve its prospects for beginning an exploration program at the Afar Depression in Djibouti and Ethiopia which has the potential to increase revenues. The continuing problem of chronic water shortages have forced the government to try to persuade private investors to construct a desalination plant on the coastline. In March 2010, a small plant commenced production at Khor Angar and the government is supporting a project to process over 300 milliom gallons of water at the port town of Dorelah.

Djibouti must also improve its port infrastructure to attract business in the transit trade to Ethiopia because authorities in Somaliland are trying to do likewise. In April 2010, the Djibouti government refused to enact plans that would change container management procedures at the Port of Doraleh due to Ethiopian concerns about impacts on costs. Transit trade with Ethiopia helped to alleviate the impact of the recent international economic downturn.


Official Data


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Djibouti's mission to the UN is located at 866 UN Plaza, Suite 4011, New York, NY 10017 (tel. 212-753-3163). Djibouti's embassy in Washington is located at Suite 515, 1156 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 (tel. 202-331-0270; fax 202-331-0302).
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