In its truest sense Djibouti is a cusp of contradiction – a small strategically located east African country that curiously straddles two worlds of contradiction. It is both:

  • A country forgotten by the world and yet courted by superpowers of the world (US, France, Italy, Japan and China) for its stability and geo-strategic location perfect for military bases
  • A booming economy with a rapid and sustained GDP growth rate of 7% and yet a large section of its population is extremely impoverished and vulnerable to death and diseases
  • A friend of international businesses, offering its strategic ports and trade free zones situated on the world’s busiest shipping routes and yet 70% of its own population is unemployed
  • A humanitarian haven for refugees and immigrants from war torn neighboring states (Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea) and yet denies basic human rights and civil liberties to its own people questioning the Djiboutian administration;
  • A presidential representative democratic republic based on a multi-party state yet in reality it is a dominant party authoritarian regime under the tight control of President Ismail Omar Guelleh who controls all information and resources to retain power and crush political opposition and other voices of dissent.
Confronting Contradictions: Myths and Realities of Djibouti
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