More information about Djibouti is available on the Djibouti Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
Strategically located in the Horn of Africa at the mouth of the Red Sea, Djibouti is a key U.S. partner on security, regional stability, and humanitarian efforts across the region. Djibouti hosts the only enduring U.S. military presence in Africa at Camp Lemonnier, established by formal agreement in 2003. A bilateral agreement with the government of Djibouti also provides the United States with access to Djibouti’s port facilities and airport. The United States established consular representation in the colony of French Somaliland in 1929. Formal diplomatic relations between the United States and Republic of Djibouti began in 1977, following independence from France.
U.S. Assistance to Djibouti
The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance maintains a warehouse for pre-positioned food assistance commodities in Djibouti, serving as a hub for rapid response in parts of Africa and Asia. International Broadcasting Bureau facilities in Djibouti transmit Arabic-language programming, and Voice of America Somali Service broadcasts to the Horn and the Arabian Peninsula.
Djibouti is challenged by a rapidly expanding workforce without the necessary skills to meet the economic needs of the country, resulting in high unemployment as well as unfilled high-skilled jobs. Obstacles to growth include high electricity costs, chronic water shortages, poor health indicators, food insecurity, and governance challenges. U.S. assistance supports a program portfolio to strengthen early childhood and primary education and technical training opportunities for youth, decrease unemployment, and build a vibrant civil society to contribute more fully to Djibouti’s development priorities.
One of the key goals shared by the governments of Djibouti and the United States is to strengthen Djibouti’s economy and grow our economic partnership by increasing employment in the Djiboutian workforce. The United States is focused on improving the quality of vocational workforce readiness programs, facilitating sustainable ties between vocational education centers and employment providers,
and strengthening job placement and retention services. In partnership with the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MENFOP), the Ministry of Labor, and the Djibouti Chamber of Commerce, U.S. assistance will support the enrollment of young Djiboutians in skills-building programs to prepare them for the jobs of today. Efforts such as the Djibouti workforce development program (WFD), which ended in 2022, have helped youth build entrepreneurial skills, enhance their English language skills, and prepare them to become leaders in industries like transportation and logistics, tourism, hospitality, and construction. In collaboration with Djibouti’s national employment agency, the WFD activity supported a major internship program for more than 500 young Djiboutian job seekers, of which more than 26 percent were later hired. The activity also supported the revision of the Ministry of Education vocational curriculum, in line with the private sector needs. The U.S. Government commitment to help reduce Djibouti’s high unemployment rate will continue through a new follow-on youth employment activity.
U.S. assistance supports MENFOP’s efforts to improve the quality of primary education across the country. U.S. assistance focuses on improving reading and literacy skills of 55,000 primary school students through improved reading instruction, enhanced community participation in early grade reading, pre-service and in-service teacher training, and improved policy environment to support reading. A new program to pioneer early childhood education is also expected to begin in 2023.
The United States has supported the Djiboutian government’s efforts to combat COVID-19, including donating hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses and providing technical support for vaccine distribution. Additional support was provided to counteract the detrimental effects of COVID-19 on the economy. Communities and micro and small businesses received assistance to support community resilience to face future shocks and to enhance their capacity and rebuild their businesses using small grant support.
U.S. assistance also is contributing to the strengthening of Djiboutian civil society organizations to foster accountable governance and improve service delivery. The USAID Citizen Engagement program involves a mix of technical assistance, training, combatting female genital mutilation, strengthening civil society organizations, and capacity building interventions.
In the energy sector, USAID works to strengthen the enabling environment and regulatory framework, build the capacity of the Office for the Development of Geo-thermal Energy, and support provision of electricity and safe drinking water to Djiboutians without these services.
USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (USAID/BHA) is responding to ongoing food insecurity concerns in rural Djibouti exacerbated each year by drought and climate change. The U.S. Government remains the largest bilateral donor for food assistance to vulnerable populations in Djibouti. During FY 2022, USAID/BHA provided more than $8 million in support of refugee economic recovery and market systems, food assistance, humanitarian coordination and information management, and nutrition assistance programming in Djibouti. The United Nations World Food Program is the United States’ largest food security partner in Djibouti.
Educational and cultural exchange programs cement people-to-people ties between the United States and Djibouti. Through the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), the International Visitors Leadership Program, the Fulbright Program, and English language programs, Djiboutian leaders and American experts are exchanging ideas and expertise on issues of mutual interest and developing leadership and skills training.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Djibouti is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Djibouti hosts modern port facilities, which enable the growth of the logistics and services sector. Before 2035, Djibouti is expected to finish several major infrastructure projects including: a natural gas pipeline, a liquefaction plant, an export terminal, a geothermal plant, renewable energy projects, and what will be Africa’s largest free trade zone, the Djibouti International Free Trade Zone. A new railroad connecting Djibouti City and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia began operations in early 2018. These projects are part of the Government of Djibouti’s ambitious plan to turn Djibouti into a major commercial and shipping hub for East Africa. U.S. exports to Djibouti include vegetable oil, wheat, machinery, and foodstuffs. U.S. imports typically transit Djibouti from origin countries farther inland such as Ethiopia. These imports include coffee, vegetables, perfumery, and cosmetics. Landlocked Ethiopia exports nearly 90 percent of its goods through Djibouti’s ports. The United States has signed a trade and investment framework agreement with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, of which Djibouti is a member.
Djibouti’s Membership in International Organizations
Djibouti is a member of the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Arab League, and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), among other organizations.
The ambassador is also the U.S. diplomatic representative to IGAD, which is headquartered in Djibouti. Principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
Djibouti maintains an embassy in the United States at Suite 515, 1156 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005, (tel. 202-331-0270).
More information about Djibouti is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
CIA World Factbook Djibouti Page
USAID Djibouti Page
History of U.S. Relations With Djibouti
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Country Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics