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Country Reports

Djibouti Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

President Ismail Omar Guelleh's extended family dominates the economy and government, with an orderly succession of leadership to his presidential adviser, Naguib Abdallah Kamil, likely to occur before the 2020 presidential election. The ruling party dominated the February 2018 legislative elections, successfully co-opting the support of ethnic-Afar political elites. Chinese debt-financed infrastructure development will remain a government priority despite causing a greater external public debt burden (85% of GDP in 2016). Chinese infrastructure projects are likely to be protected despite legal changes weakening contract sanctity in November 2017. The prospects of Djibouti and Eritrea resolving a territorial dispute have improved following preliminary talks facilitated by Saudi Arabiaand the UN on 18 September.

Last update: October 9, 2018

Operational Outlook

President Guelleh's family dominates the construction, logistics, telecoms, and tourism sectors through multiple Issaq sub-clans. Personalised commercial relationships expose foreign investors to bribery and corruption risks when dealing with Djiboutian contractors. Bribes are typically sought when bidding for tenders and, likewise, facilitation fees are demanded during approval processes. Private-sector labour unrest is rare and the government has legal powers to respond punitively.

Last update: October 9, 2018

Terrorism

Moderate

Elements of the dismantled former armed, anti-government FRUD-Armé are likely to exploit grievances among ethnic-Afar stemming from the political domination of the Issaq clan. The Djiboutian military has neutralised the FRUD-Armé's capability to conduct small-arms attacks against military assets and convoys in the Obock region. Separately, 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 the local support networks that are necessary to evade the security services during the planning and preparation phases. Western hotels are otherwise priority targets.

Last update: October 9, 2018

War Risks

Djibouti and Eritrea are engaged in a dispute over the sovereignty of the Doumeira mountains in northeastern Djibouti overlooking the strategic Red Sea maritime trading corridor. Eritrean forces occupied Doumeira in June 2017 after the Qatari peacekeeping mission there withdrew. A resolution is currently unlikely in 2018, despite Eritrea beginning to normalise relations with rival Ethiopia in July 2018. Ethiopia and China are willing to mediate between Djibouti and Eritrea, which is likely to act as an effective constraint on military escalation. The dispute would de-escalate if Eritrea accepts Djibouti's demand made on 18 July for the use of international arbitration to determine Doumeira's legal status.

Last update: September 4, 2018

Social Stability

Moderate

The opposition is divided and unable to co-ordinate effective anti-government protests. The security forces also exercise punitive powers, reducing the likelihood of protests in Djibouti City. No protests were reported during the February 2018 legislative elections. This was because the ruling party captured ethnic Afar elites in the regions, which undermined elites' support for protest action. Separately, Afar residents in the Obock and Tadjoura state capitals will probably also organise protests against government-backed land expropriation, affecting Chinese, French, and Turkish companies. Anti-government protests in Tadjoura's capital would also be triggered by statements supporting Arta's ownership of the disputed Lake Assal region.

Last update: October 9, 2018

Health Risk

Very high

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

Elevated

Djibouti is located in an active seismic zone.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Infrastructure

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

Climate

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

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: November 21, 2013