Last updated in October 2012
As a stable country in a strategically important location in the crisis-ridden Horn of Africa region, Djibouti is of regional significance to Germany. Both countries are seeking to cooperate within the United Nations and other international organizations.
Diplomatic relations were established in 1978. Bilateral relations are friendly. The importance Germany attaches to relations with Djibouti was underlined by the opening of a German Embassy there in spring 2010. Djibouti, for its part, opened an embassy in Berlin in autumn 2011, its ambassador being accredited in late November 2011.
As part of the EU’s ATALANTA mission, Germany is contributing to the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia by providing a naval contingent that is stationed in Djibouti. Until the end of 2012, a Federal Armed Forces advisory group is helping Djibouti’s police force to set up a nationwide digital communications network and providing support with motor vehicles. Since September 2012, German experts have been involved in the EU’s EUCAP NESTOR mission, which supports regional maritime capacity building in the Horn of Africa and has its headquarters in Djibouti.
Djibouti’s Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf paid an official visit to Germany in late February 2010. He held talks with Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle and the Federal Defence Minister and received high-level attention at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Federal Ministry of Finance. During the visit, a declaration of intent on cooperation in foreign policy was signed on 23 February 2010.
On 11 April 2010, Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle and Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Niebel paid a joint official visit to Djibouti that has helped further intensify bilateral relations.
In connection with Germany’s engagement, there have been several visits to Djibouti by the Federal Defence Minister, the most recent being that of Minister de Maizière in December 2011.
A particular high point in bilateral relations was former Federal President Köhler’s visit to Djibouti on 6 December 2004.
German development cooperation with Djibouti is largely conducted through the European Union as well as through international institutions and organizations under the umbrella of the United Nations.
There are, however, a number of bilateral development cooperation projects:
One ongoing project, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, is concerned with technical and vocational education and training in the renewable energy sector. The project partners here are the Saarland Chamber of Skilled Crafts, the Djibouti Technical High School and the Djibouti Chamber of Commerce.
Another project funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is the construction of an SOS Children’s Village for up to 120 children in the Tadjourah region in the north of the country, which began in autumn 2011. If construction proceeds according to plan, the first children will be able to move into the village in the second half of 2013.
Germany’s St. John’s Ambulance Service is active in the humanitarian sector, especially in providing basic health care to undernourished infants. These activities, which are currently being expanded, are funded by the Federal Foreign Office.
In late 2011, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Djibouti-based regional organization IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) signed a declaration of intent to conduct two Technical Cooperation projects worth more than EUR 3.5 million and provide more than EUR 20 million in Financial Cooperation funding, both to enhance the country’s drought-resistance capacity.