Djibouti Country Facts

By | June 21, 2024
جيبوتي ‎ To be
Capital city Djibouti
Surface 23.200 km²
Population 942.000
Road network length 1.796 km
Length of highway network 0 km
First highway N/A
Motorway name N/A
Traffic drives To the right
License plate code DJI

Djibouti (Afar: Yibuuti, Arabic: جيبوتي ‎ Jībūtī) is a small country in eastern Africa. The country is approximately the size of half of the Netherlands and has more than 900,000 inhabitants. The capital is Djibouti of the same name.


Djibouti is strategically located at the transition from the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. It borders Eritrea to the west, Ethiopia to the south and Somalia to the east. Across the strait Bab al-Mandab is located in Yemen. Another important geographical feature of Djibouti is the Gulf of Tadjourah, which divides the country into southern and northern parts.

The capital Djibouti is located in the east of the country on a peninsula by the sea. The country measures a maximum of 190 kilometers from north to south and 160 kilometers from east to west. Besides the capital Djibouti, there are no other cities of interest. Djibouti is mountainous and consists mainly of rock desert. Large parts of the country consist of inhospitable and rugged landscape. There is virtually no afforestation. Lake Assal is located 155 meters below sea level and is the lowest point in Africa.

The country has a dry climate with hot summers and warm winters. The average maximum temperature varies from 29°C in winter to 42°C in summer. Due to its location, Djibouti still has a relatively large temperature difference between summer and winter. There is little precipitation, less than 200 mm per year, most of which falls in winter.


Djibout had only 50,000 inhabitants in 1950, which grew rapidly to almost 600,000 in 1990, after which the growth is somewhat less strong.  The country has only one major city, the capital Djibouti which has approximately 475,000 inhabitants, about half of all inhabitants of Djibouti. There are also 5 other places with between 10,000 and 40,000 inhabitants.

The country has two major ethnic groups: Somalis (60%) and Afar (35%). The other inhabitants are mostly Arabs, Ethiopians and a small group of Europeans. The population is relatively urbanized due to the dominance of the capital Djibouti. The two most widely spoken languages ​​are also Somali and Afar. The country has three official languages: Somali, Arabic and French.


Djibouti has a somewhat more developed economy than other countries in the region, the port of Djibouti plays an important role in this. Djibouti is strategically located, the port of Djibouti is also important for Ethiopia ‘s exports. Unlike many countries in the region, only a small proportion of the population works in agriculture. Little land is suitable for agriculture, so Djibouti has to import a large part of its food. Per capita income is approximately $3,800, which is higher than other countries in the region. Several countries have military bases in Djibouti, the rental income of which accounts for about 5% of the GDP.


From the late Middle Ages, the area was ruled by sultanates. The French were the first Europeans to gain a foothold in this area in the 1880s. In 1894, French Somaliland was founded, a French colony whose borders coincided with present-day Djibouti. The French name for the colony was Côte française des Somalis. Under French rule, a railway was built from Ethiopia to Djibouti, which would become of great economic importance to Djibouti later in the 20th century. In 1967 a referendum was held whether French Somaliland should become independent. A majority voted against independence, after which it was transformed into the French overseas territory of Afar- en Issaland. This existed until 1977, when another referendum was held and virtually the entire population voted for independence. Djibouti was thus one of the last former European colonies on mainland Africa to gain independence.

As an independent country, Djibouti attracted the interest of major world powers because of its strategic location. The United States, Japan and China have military bases in Djibouti. Djibouti has experienced less political instability or armed conflict like other countries in the region, but there was a civil war between the Afar and the government between 1991 and 1994, which led to a peace agreement in 2001. Djibouti is considered an authoritarian country. It has good relations with Somalia and Ethiopia, as well as France and the United States.

Road Network

Route nationale

asphalted (status 2021)

In 2021, Djibouti had a network of 1,193 kilometers of national routes, of which 606 kilometers were asphalted. In addition, there were 603 kilometers of routes urbaines, of which 179 kilometers were asphalted. Of the total road network of 1,796 kilometers, 44% is paved. There are three paved roads to Ethiopia and one to Somalia. There is no functional road connection to Eritrea.

In theory, Djibouti’s road network is very dense, considering the number of 19 numbered roads. However, much of this is unpaved, there is only about 600 kilometers of paved road, of which the transit route to neighboring Ethiopia and the road network in the city of Djibouti makes up the lion’s share. There are no highways in Djibouti, but the road network in the capital is fairly developed, with several dual carriageways and most streets are paved, except in slums. There is a 2×2 bypass on the west side of Djibouti.

National roads

# No. Route Length
N1 Djibouti – Dikhil – Yoboki – Galafi (Ethiopian) 211 km
N2 Djibouti – Loyada (gr. Somalia) 25 km
N3 Djibouti – Port de Doraleh 10 km
N4 N1 – Art 10 km
N5 Grand Bara – Ali Sabieh – Ali Addé – Holl-Holl 65 km
N6 Dikhil – As-Ela 75 km
N7 N6 – Lac Abhe 60 km
N8 N9 – Yoboki 29 km
N9 N1 – Tadjoura 130 km
N10 N9 – Lac Assal 16 km
N11 Hougoub – Randa – As Dora – Dorra – Balho (Ethiopian Gr.) 110 km
N12 N9 – Garenlhé – Itki – Day – Randa 40 km
N13 As Dora – Assa-Gueyla 33 km
N14 Tadjoura – Obock 60 km
N15 Obock – Moulhoulé – gr. Eritrea 110 km
N16 Obock – Alaili Dadda – Andoli – Moulhoulé 115 km
N17 N1 – N2 (near Djibouti) 6 km
N18 Djibouti – Goubetto – Holho – Da Asbiyo – Ali Sabieh 88 km
N19 N5 – Guélile – Ethiopia border 9 km

Road management

The national road authority of Djibouti is the Agence Djiboutienne des Routes (ADR). ADR was created in 2013 as a merger of the Direction de l’équipement and the Fonds d’Entretien Routier. The ADR is an agency of the Ministere de l’Equipement et des Transports. The ADR manages 1,796 kilometers of road, of which 44% (785 kilometers) is asphalted. The ADR manages the national routes and the urbaines routes in Djibouti.

Road numbering

Djibouti has a network of national routes numbered with the prefix ‘N’. The numbering was first established in 1982 and runs from N1 to N19. In general, the numbering increases from south to north.

The road network consists of National Roads with the prefix N. However, the majority of these roads are unpaved. The numbering runs from N1 to N16.


The signage consists of white signs with black letters and is usually very old.

Maximum speed

The speed limit is set in the Code de la Route. The Code de la Route of Djibouti was first established in 1980. The speed limit in Djibouti is 80 km/h for passenger cars outside built-up areas and 50 km/h in the city of Djibouti and a number of surrounding villages. For freight traffic, 60 and 40 km/h apply respectively.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *