Djibouti is a small country located in the Horn of Africa. It is a young nation, gaining its independence from France only in 1977. The country’s terrain is craggy interspersed with plateaus and plains as well as mountains, the highest of which is 2,000 meters. Since it is located in an area of tectonic plate separation, the landscape is largely made up of volcanic formations. Thanks to its geographical position (between three strong nations – Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia), and its strategic value as a port, Djibouti plays an important role in the international economics and political issues. In 2009 the population was estimated at nearly 865,000 inhabitants, whose more than two-thirds (87.7%) live in the capital and therefore near the coast. In the rural areas, 96.5% of the rural population lives below the poverty line.
In the past decades, Djibouti's economy has experienced many political crises and economic and natural shocks (in particular droughts and floods) that have deteriorated the country's competitiveness. In 1995, the per capita income has fallen by over 25% compared to its 1984 level, while the deficit of state budget reached 10.1% of GDP. However, in 2008 Djibouti’s GDP reached almost US$1 billion driven mainly by foreign direct investments (FDI) in construction and maritime services. The country’s agricultural and industrial sectors are underdeveloped, but represent key livelihoods. Djibouti is vulnerable to extreme events such as droughts, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, and fires. Moreover, Djibouti is at risk of sea level rise. These disturbances are increasing in frequency, affecting population food security, drinking water supply and irrigation, public health systems, environmental management, and lifestyle.
Selected Indicators for Impacts and Vulnerabilities