Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, is a country of dry shrublands, volcanic formations and Gulf of Aden beaches. It's home to one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, the low-lying Lake Assal, in the Danakil Desert. The nomadic Afar people have settlements along Lake Abbe, a body of saltwater featuring chimney like mineral formations. It neighbours Somalia to the south, Eritrea to the north and Ethiopia to the west. Due to its geographic location at the Gulf of Aden, Djibouti is integral to international shipping, and as such, derives a large percentage of its GDP from its ports. Another consequence of its geographic location guarding the approach to the Suez Canal is that Djibouti houses foreign military assets from the United States of America, France and China that provide security for international shipping interests.
The country’s population is multi-ethnic with the largest groups being Somali and Afar. The official languages of Djibouti are French and Arabic. This is as a result of the Republic formerly being part of a French colony, French Somaliland. The country underwent a series of referendums on its path to democracy. The first referendum cut the country's ties with neighbouring Somalia as both modern day countries were part of the aforementioned French Somaliland. The second referendum loosened ties with France while the third formed the Republic of Djibouti in 1977.
The current President of Djibouti, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, is currently in his 4th term of office, two terms beyond that which are allowed in the country’s constitution and has been in power since 1999.
For broad overviews of the country:
For further reading on the foreign military in Djibouti: