How Djibouti develops


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(Graphic Map n.d.)

Djibouti, among the countries we are investigated, is relatively a country with low development. In fact,
Djibouti was ranked 165th out of 187 countries on the list of human development index conducted by UNDP (2012).

Its low development can be explained in the below three aspects:

Political aspect

Despite its independence from France since 1977, authoritarian rule remains which constraints its development.
Although so-called election of president was introduced, President Hassan Gouled Apridon still won in the first
election. Ismail Omar Guelleh, his nephew, has been the president for 3 terms since 1999 which was not allowed
in the constitution (Freedom House, 2012). Besides, only media and press which go through censorship are allowed
in Djibouti so as to avoid any threats to the ruling power. Even though there have been strong opposition, even the
opposition triggered by Arab spring, situation has not been improved (Freedom House, 2012).

Partly due to the authoritarian rule in Djibouti, it affects Djibouti LGBT development especially
in terms of laws and civil liberty.


Social aspect
Social inequality is another factor hindering its development. Somalis Issa is the major ethnic group which holds
control in politics. Ethnic minorities have encountered discrimination in politics, employment and many other aspect
of life (US Department of State 2011: 21). Some offer the explanation that due to the social division during colonial
period, African countries, including Djibouti, tend to have a very clear line between outsider and insider within the
society (Bezabeth 2011). Bezabeth (2011: 588) further elaborates this argument by supporting Joeal Migdal’s idea
of citizenship ‘[which is not] homogeneous and fixed but as a graduated entity’ with different ethnic groups.
Citizenship is guaranteed only if one is regarded as the insider of the nation state (Bezabeth 2011).

Economic aspect
Economically, one may see the strategic geographic location of Djibouti favorable to its development.
Djibouti serves as a regional transit port as well as an international transshipment and refueling center and
service activity is one of its main economic activities(African Development Bank Group 2012).

However, over-reliance on foreign investment and the inability to produce its own food can always be a great trouble.
The unfavorable geography partly hinders its development. The nearly non-existence agriculture leads to
heavy rely on food import. The problem always becomes worsen because Djibouti is always affected by natural disasters.
It makes Djibouti easier to suffer from food-deficit.

Besides, the position as a port and the economic activities do not benefit the people so much that unemployment
can be one of the evidence to prove it (African Development Bank Group 2012).

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(World Trade Organization 2009: 174)