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France and Djibouti

Political relations

Djibouti and France have remained very close since the former’s independence. Djibouti is a French-speaking enclave in the Horn of Africa. French stands alongside Arabic as one of the country’s two official languages, and the authorities remain very committed to francophonie which is considered to be the key factor of the national identity.


To France:
  • President of the Republic of Djibouti, Mr Ismail Omar Guelleh: official visit on 21 December 2011, Élysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa in December 2013, official visit to France on 28 February 2017.
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Mahmoud Ali Youssouf (March 2016, February 2017).
To Djibouti:
  • President of the Republic (January 2010).
  • Minister of Defence (July 2015).
  • Joint Chief of Staff (January 2016).
  • Minister of State for Relations with Parliament (October 2016).

For more information, visit: Website of the French Embassy in Djibouti

Economic relations

French exports to Djibouti remained fairly stable in 2016 (-0.6), standing at €86.5 million. Our trade surplus with Djibouti is very large, due to our limited imports from the country (€81.3 million in 2016). The Bank of France evaluated French foreign direct investment stock in Djibouti at €19.1 million at the end of 2015. In addition to companies created decades ago by French nationals, there are a dozen French businesses including the Banque pour le Commerce et l’Industrie Mer Rouge – BCI MR (a subsidiary of BRED-Banque Populaire), Stereau, Air France, CMA CGM, Bolloré Group, Rubis and Casino. There are business prospects for French companies in the areas of services, infrastructure, equipment, telecommunications and renewable energy. The France-Djibouti Business Forum (GAFD) was created in November 2017. This forum, run by 25 businesspeople from France and Djibouti, aims to promote a shared ambition to strengthen bilateral economic ties.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

In July 2013, the Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development (CICID) confirmed Djibouti’s addition to the French list of cooperation priority countries. Cooperation is intense: cultural cooperation takes place in close partnership with the Institut Français in Djibouti (IFD), a pillar of our linguistic cooperation in Djibouti. French scientific cooperation, meanwhile, draws largely on the Scientific Studies and Research Centre of Djibouti (CERD), fostering research in various fields. Academic scientific research has developed (promotion of French higher education, inauguration of a Campus France office and launch of the Study in France procedure, organization of scientific visits for doctoral candidates and post-docs from Djibouti). Lastly, cooperation in the field of governance has been boosted by increased training scholarships – that are all co-funded – to strengthen Djibouti’s administrations.

For more information, visit: Website of the French Embassy in Djibouti

Military Cooperation

The Defence cooperation treaty between France and Djibouti was signed in Paris on 21 December 2011. It entered into force on 1 May 2014. By that Treaty and its security clause, France reaffirmed its commitment to the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Djibouti. The Treaty sets out the operational facilities granted to stationed French forces, which make up our largest military base abroad with some 1,450 troops.

For more information, visit: Website of the Ministry of Defence

Updated: 26 June 2018