Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, is a mostly French- and Arabic-speaking country of dry shrublands, volcanic formations and Gulf of Aden beaches. It’s home to one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, the low-lying Lake Assal, in the Danakil Desert. The nomadic Afar people have settlements along with Lake Abbe, a body of saltwater featuring chimneylike mineral formations.

Djibouti is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. To the east is its coastline on the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Rainfall is sparse, and most of the territory has a semi-arid to an arid environment.

 Key Cities

Key cities in Djibouti include: Ali Sabih, Tadjoura, Obock, Dikhil, Arta, Holhol, Goubetto, Dorra, Galafi

Historical, Cultural facts & Religion

Originally known as French Somaliland, the colony voted in 1958 and 1967 to remain under French rule. It was renamed the Territory of the Afars and Issas in 1967 and took the name of its capital city on June 27, 1977, when France transferred sovereignty to the newly independent nation of Djibouti.

Because of the many influences, Djibouti is a hodgepodge of ancient and modern. Language is one of the major components of the Djiboutian culture. The multi-ethnic and multi-lingual population speaks Somali and Afar as their mother tongues, but the official languages are Arabic and French.

Djibouti is a predominately Islamic country; 94 percent of the population is Sunni Muslim. The remainder of the population is Christian: 4.7 percent is Roman Catholic and 1.3 percent is composed of other denominations. The constitution establishes Islam as the state religion but mandates equality for all faiths

 Brief Country History

Arabian immigrants came to the country in 3 B.C. and from them descended the Afars who are today’s Djibouti natives. The Somali Issas followed thereafter. After over 800 years, Islam was introduced to the country and it became the first country to adopt Islam in the African continent.

In 1843, French troops arrived in the country and signed a treaty with the Somali sultans, which makes the land their territory. The French gained interest in invading the land because of its strategic location – the capital city’s port serves as a port open to other ships crossing the Red Sea. Then, the administrative capital of the country was Obock.

In 1884, France expanded its territory to the Somaliland and Gulf of Tadjourah which is affirmed by its agreement with Ethiopia. A few years later, the capital city was changed from Obock to Djibouti which has ready access to the Ethiopian highlands. Its natural harbor also attracted traders from East Africa which made the country open to other travelers.

Then called French Somaliland, it joined the French community as their overseas territory, which entitled them representation in the French Parliament and French Union Assembly. However, French President Charles de Gaulle’s visit to the country in August 1966 was bombarded by numerous public demonstrations demanding their independence. Governor-General Louis Saget decided to hold a referendum to know if the people would like to remain under French control or become independent. The following year, almost 60% agreed to stay under French control. Later that year, its name was changed to the French Territory of Afars and Issas.

Due to insistent public demand, the French government finally considered granting independence to the country. In June 27, 1977, the Republic of Djibouti was established with Hassan Gouled Aptidon as its first President.

 Language (s) Written & Spoken

Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, is a mostly French and Arabic-speaking country of dry shrublands, volcanic formations and Gulf of Aden beaches. It’s home to one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, the low-lying Lake Assal, in the Danakil Desert. The nomadic Afar people have settlements along Lake Abbe, a body of saltwater featuring chimneylike mineral formations.

The Latin script is the most widely used writing script used in Djibouti. The Somali language is written using a modified form of the Latin script.

 Important Types of Commerce in Djibouti

Djibouti is a small country on the Horn of Africa bordering Ethiopia in the east and north, Eritrea in the south, Somali in the northwest, and the Gulf of Eden and the Red Sea at the west. The country is strategically situated near some of the largest shipping lanes, controlling access to the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. Djibouti is a key maritime port for both imports and exports to Ethiopia.

The economy of Djibouti has largely been promoted by its strategic location on the Red Sea. Being a barren country with little agriculture and industrial activities, the economy has largely concentrated on the service sector. Djibouti has a harsh climate, limited natural resources, and unskilled labor. The growth has also been slowed down by the civil war experienced in the country between 1991 and 1994 which had devastating effects on the economy. However, the country has witnessed improvement in macroeconomic stability, with annual GDP improving at an average of 3% from 2003. Despite the promising growth, Djibouti still faces several economic challenges including unemployment and poverty. The rate of unemployment is at 43% and is the main cause of poverty in the country. The high unemployment rate is a result of the lack of well-developed industries that can offer employment. The available industries have low production capacity and can only offer few jobs. Here are some of the industries in Djibouti.

Djibouti has recorded very little development in the agricultural and industrial sectors, partly due to its barrenness and lack of sufficient skilled labor. However, its strategic location connecting the Gulf of Eden and the Red Sea is probably its main economic asset. Djibouti is a port country with a state-of-the-art port complex which is one of the most sophisticated in the world. The port provides services as both a transit port and an international transshipment and refueling center. The service sector, which is largely port services accounts for about 79.7% of the GDP and about half of the total formal workforce. The facilities of Port of Djibouti are used by several landlocked countries to re-export their goods. Thus, the county earns harbor fees and transit taxes from these trades, forming the bulk of government revenue. The container terminal at the port handles the bulk of the country’s trade. Trade through the port is expected to grow in parallel with the expanding economy of Ethiopia (main trading partner). The major threat to the port services is the pirates patrolling the Gulf of Eden with the intention of capturing cargo ships. To deal with this threat, large nations such as the US, Japan, and France have embedded military camps from where they can defend their freight.

Language Services US and others will provide working with Djibouti

Being a multi-ethnic nation, Djibouti has a population of over 750000 and Afar and Somali make up the two largest ethnic groups. Professional and accurate document translation can never be done using machine translations – it requires a human mind expertly trained in the translation field to translate any document from Afar or Somali language to the English language, and as well filled with the specialist knowledge relevant to the field or the subject of the document if need be. Somali and Afar have recognized languages however the official languages spoken are Arabic and French. Djibouti has the world’s busiest shipping lanes which explain the fact that it deals with several nations and requires translation as well as interpretation services. Due to globalization and growing multiculturalism, reliable interpreting services are becoming increasingly relevant to overcome language barriers.

Looking for a Somali, Afar, Arabic, or French translation company? Look no further. American Language Services (AML-Global) offers certified translations, native interpreting services, and turn-key localization solutions for any language. Call us today @ 1-800-951-5020 for further information, visit our website or for a quick quote click


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