Djibouti Poverty

Whilst Djibouti is a small nation of under a million inhabitants looking to the future in partnership with global powers, it remains a country with high levels of poverty with an unbalanced economy.

Both inside and outside the city centre of Djibouti and port areas (where two thirds of the population live), unemployment (running at over 60%) and poverty are rampant.

The reminder of the population live nomadic lifestyles in the country with most relying on herding against a background of recurring droughts over the past few years across the Horn of Africa.

Djibouti is almost totally reliant on foreign imports to survive as it has few natural resources and little industry. Djibouti only produces 5% of its own food needs and is reliant on importing grain and other staples from Ethiopia and meat and dairy products from Somalia. It is currently exploring leasing arable land from Malawi to help with this situation.

This reliance makes it particularly vulnerable to 'price shocks' and whilst the global recession of 2009 did not effect Djibouti significantly, its high population growth rate and influx of refugees into a very small country is having a negative impact on poverty levels there. Programs for these refugees from Somalia and Ethiopia are only part funded by the United Nations leaving the government of Djibouti to resource the shortfall.

Poverty has actually been falling in Djibouti after the economic mismanagement of the regime of former President Hassan Gouled Aptidon, however still stands at around 42% of the population down from 49% ten years ago. This figure, however, belies the fact that in rural Djibouti in excess of 60% of the population live in poverty with only 21% of them having access to safe water (rising to just 50% in urban areas.) The levels of poverty in rural Djibouti are so bad than one in ten children doesn't even have a home to provide shelter.


Djibouti Poverty

Djibouti Poverty

Djibouti Poverty

Djibouti Poverty


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  Djibouti PovertyHuman Development Index Djibouti

Given this level of poverty, the government is not in a position to fund social and welfare programs and there are no unemployment benefits except on a private insurance basis and institutions such as orphanages are run by Islamic and Christian Charities. This video documentary explores poverty and malnutrition in Djibouti and the positive interventions there by the Médecins Sans Frontières organisation.

Human Development Index for Djibouti 2005 - Present

The HDI (Human Development Index) is measured by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the World Bank and is based upon the life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and living standards of a country. Djibouti is in 164th place out of 186 countries and territories in 2013 and the chart below shows how levels of poverty and living standards in Djibouti fall far short of other Arab states.


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