Country Reports

Djibouti Country Report

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Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

The dominance of President Ismail Omar Guelleh's extended family is likely to facilitate an orderly transition of power to his presidential advisor, Abdallah Kamil, prior to 2020 presidential elections. Prior to February 2018 legislative elections, the ruling party will look to stem the opposition's growing popularity by appointing rival Afar politicians in a cabinet reshuffle. Chinese debt-financed infrastructure development, which officially totals USD600 million (36% of GDP), is a government priority. Chinese contracts are unlikely to be affected by weaker arbitration law in early 2018. Breakaway opposition groups are supporting the anti-government FRUD-Armé, which conducts infrequent small-arms attacks against military personnel in Obock.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Operational Outlook

President Guelleh's family network, which extends across the Massasan and Heber-Jeclo clans (both Issaq sub-clans), dominates the construction, logistics, telecoms, and tourism sectors. Personalised commercial relationships expose European and US investors to non-compliance when dealing with Djiboutian contractors. Bribes are sought when bidding for tenders and, likewise, facilitation fees are demanded when requesting government approval. Private-sector labour unrest is rare. However, the government is likely to support local workers' rights if the opposition party, which closely co-operates with labour unions, wins a larger share of seats at February 2018's legislative elections.

Last update: March 27, 2018



The leadership of the armed, anti-government FRUD-Armé will seek to exploit growing grievances among ethnic-Afar towards the political domination of the Issaq clan. FRUD-Armé is capable of conducting small-arms attacks against military assets and convoys in Obock region. Djibouti's military participation in the regional African Union Mission in Somalia and hosting of French US military bases make it an aspirational target for Al-Shabaab militants. However, the group has limited access to local support networks necessary to evade the security services during the planning and preparation stages. Western hotels are otherwise priority targets.

Last update: March 27, 2018

War Risks


Eritrea's occupation of the disputed Dumaira peninsula on 14 June 2017 is likely an opportunistic response to the Djiboutian government signing a security co-operation agreement in April 2016 with rival long-term Ethiopia. This authorised the deployment of an Ethiopian battalion in Djiboutian territory, which the Eritreans perceive as a threat. However, preservation of a UAE base in Assab, and indications of Ethiopia's more conciliatory stance towards Eritrea reduce the likelihood of military escalating. Separately, grievances among the Yonis-Moussa (a minority sub-clan of the Issaq), which comprises almost half of military personnel, are increasing military disloyalty – although civil war remains unlikely.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Social Stability


Breakaway groups of the former opposition USN coalition are likely to organise anti-government protests in Djibouti City (especially Balbala area) ahead of and during the February 2018 legislative elections. Security forces typically respond with batons and tear gas, escalating to lethal force, quickly dispersing protests. Separately, ethnic-Afar residents in the Obock and Tadjourah state capitals will probably also organise protests against government-backed land expropriation. Chinese, French, and Turkish firms face disruption to cargo and vandalism of company property at on-site locations. Anti-government protests in Tadjourah's capital would also be triggered by statements supporting Arta's ownership of the disputed Lake Assal region.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Health Risk


Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission and over one year of age and for travelers who have been in transit in an airport located in a country with risk of YFV transmission. 

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: June 1, 2016

Natural Risks


Djibouti is located in an active seismic zone.

Last update: February 13, 2018


Transportation and hotel infrastructure is lacking.

Paved roads are rare and the majority of roads are in poor condition. In theory, landmines are no longer present in the country; however, to be on the safe side, it is advisable to not venture too far from marked roads. Travel in the interior of the country should been undertaken in a convoy of at least two vehicles.

The safety of train travel cannot be guaranteed. There is only one line linking Djibouti to Dire-Daoua in Ethiopia.

Finally, telecommunication networks are limited in the capital and practically nonexistent outside of the capital.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Practical Information


The climate in Djibouti is hot and very arid.

Temperatures are the highest from May to October and this “hot season” can be grueling. The months from May to September are also very wet and humid. There is, however, no distinct rainy season.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +253
Police: 17
Fire Dept.: 18
Central Police Station: 35 38 91
National Gendarmerie: 35 10 03


Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz


Last update: November 21, 2013