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 Ismaïl Omar Guelleh: official visit to France on 21 December 2011, Élysée Summit in December 2013, official visit to France on 28 February 2017;
  • Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Mahamoud Ali Youssouf (March 2016, February 2017).

To Djibouti:

  • President of the French Republic (Emmanuel Macron, March 2019)
  • President of the French Republic (Nicolas Sarkozy, January 2010)
  • Minister of Defence (July 2015).
  • Army Chief of Staff (January 2016)
  • Minister of State for Relations with Parliament (Jean-Marie Le Guen, October 2016)

Further information on bilateral visits on the French Embassy in Djibouti’s website (in French)

Economic relations

French exports to Djibouti remained almost stable in 2016 (down 0.6%), to reach €86 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 estimated French investment stock in Djibouti at €19.1 million at the end of 2015. In addition to companies created several decades ago by French nationals, France has about a dozen entities in Djibouti, including the Red Sea Trade & Industry Bank (BCIMR), a subsidiary of BRED-Banque Populaire), Stéreau, Air France, CMA-CGM, Groupe Bolloré, 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 Group (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.

See the Djibouti country file on the French Treasury website (in French)

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 very dynamic:

  • cultural cooperation takes place in close partnership with the Institut Français of Djibouti, which is an important part of our linguistic cooperation in Djibouti;
  • French scientific cooperation relies primarily on the Centre for Scientific Studies and Research in Djibouti (CERD) to encourage various fields of research;
  • Academic scientific cooperation has increased (launch of the promotion of French higher education, inauguration of Campus France space, the launch of the Études en France procedure and planned scientific visits for Djiboutians with PhDs and preparing PhDs);
  • cooperation in the area of governance has been restarted by increasing the number of training scholarships – that are all co-financed – to strengthen Djiboutian administrations.

Further information on cooperation on the French Embassy in Djibouti’s website (in French)

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.

Further information on military cooperation on the French Ministry for the Armed Forces website (in French)

Updated: 24.05.19