The Republic of Djibouti is located in the Horn of Africa and covers an area totaling 23,200 km2. It is bounded by Ethiopia in the West and South, Somalia in the Southeast, Eritrea in the North, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to the East. It is essentially a city-state with Djibouti-City being home to over two thirds of the population and which also has the status of the capital city. Physically, the country is a stony semi desert with scattered plateaus and highlands. Djibouti gained independence from France in 1977. While French is the official language, Arabic is widely spoken too.
The total population was estimated at 1.0 million in 2017. Life expectancy at birth in Djibouti is 62.5 (2016) years and the population growth rate is estimated at 2.7% (2017). Djibouti is ranked 172 out of 188 countries with comparable data in the 2015 Human Development Report with a HDI score of 0.473, which is below the Sub-Saharan African average of 0.523. Djibouti has very close links with France, which provides significant amounts of aid and financial support. Around 2,700 French troops are stationed in Djibouti under agreements signed at independence. Djibouti also hosts USA and German troops and is the headquarters of a number of international Task Forces for the region.