Germany considers Djibouti to be a country of regional importance due to its stability and its strategically significant location in the crisis-ridden Horn of Africa. This was underscored when Germany opened an embassy there in spring 2010. Djibouti, for its part, established an embassy in Berlin in autumn 2011. Diplomatic relations were established when Djibouti gained independence in 1977 and are amicable. Germany is supporting the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia and has stationed a German Bundeswehr contingent in Djibouti as part of Operation EU NAVFOR Atalanta.
Although Djibouti is a not a partner country of German bilateral development cooperation, it benefits indirectly through regional projects organised via the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which has its headquarters in Djibouti, as well as directly via EU-funded measures.
The priorities of EU engagement are infrastructure measures, in particular in the fields of road construction, water and sanitation, as well as macroeconomic support for good governance. The construction of a seawater desalination plant begun in 2018 with a total sum of more than 70 million euros is the largest EU project in Djibouti to date. Funds from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) not only benefit refugees (around 30,000 refugees in a country with one million inhabitants) but also the local population.
Germany is helping displaced persons and refugees in Somalia and neighbouring countries (including Djibouti) by providing regional funding through UNHCR (25 million euros in 2018).
Furthermore, the German Government, through the Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation, is providing support for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to the tune of more than 160 million euros, among other things for its work on improving drought resistance and food security as well as developing a regional migration policy.
The country offers investment potential for German companies in particular in the spheres of transport, logistics and renewable energies (photovoltaics, wind, geothermics). The city of Karlsruhe has concluded a research cooperation agreement with Dijibouti in the latter field.