Djibouti is 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 established an embassy in Berlin in autumn 2011. Diplomatic relations were established when Djibouti gained independence in 1977 and are amicable. Since 2008, Germany has been involved in the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia within the framework of the CSDP Operation EUNAVFOR Atalanta. In this context, a Bundeswehr contingent was stationed in Djibouti until May 2021.
Although Djibouti is a not a partner country of German bilateral development cooperation, it benefits from regional projects organised via the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which has its headquarters in Djibouti, as well as from EU and UN-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 and assistance for good governance. The EU’s largest project there to date, with a total volume of more than 70 million euro, is the construction of a seawater desalination facility, which started operating in March 2021. 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 supports internally displaced persons and refugees in Somalia and neighbouring countries (including Djibouti, Kenya, Yemen and Ethiopia) by providing flexible regional funding through UNHCR.
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 around 150 million euro, not least for its work on improving drought resistance and food security as well as developing a regional migration policy. Further commitments are to follow in 2021.
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 Djibouti in the last-mentioned field.