Djibouti has a tradition of hosting refugees spanning over four decades; throughout this time it has maintained an open-door policy for refugees. With a population of around 956,985 – 23% of whom live in extreme poverty , Djibouti currently hosts over 27,413  refugees, most of whom come from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Yemen. Many refugees in Djibouti arrived more than 25 years ago; the vast majority live in one of three sites, and are dependent on humanitarian assistance. Djibouti is one of the fastest-growing economies in the East and Horn of Africa, though it relies significantly on foreign financing and direct investments, rents from foreign countries’ military bases, and port services. The International Monetary Fund estimated that real GDP grew by about 7.1% in 2017 . Large-scale investment and new infrastructure projects underway provide opportunities to apply the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) in areas where both refugees and host communities live, leading to economic growth and development in these areas, for the benefit of both populations, in the spirit of the CRRF.
Building on the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, the Government committed to include refugees in national education programmes and health systems at the Leaders’ Summit for Refugees (20 September 2016). In a promising step towards greater inclusion of refugees in local communities, the Government specifically pledged to:
1. Adopt a new refugee law providing access to education, legal help and to the justice system for refugees
2. Give all refugee children access to accredited education through:
3. Give all refugee access to the national health system.
To fulfill the above pledges, the Government has created a Steering Committee, a multi-stakeholder mechanism designed to guide and facilitate the application of the CRRF. The Committee is led by the Ministry of Interior and is composed of other line ministries (Education, Health, Labour, Social Affairs, including the Djiboutian Agency of Social Development (ADDS), among others), representatives from the refugees and host communities, donors, representatives from the national and international NGOs, IGAD, World Bank, UN agencies and the Djiboutian Chamber of Commerce. The Steering Committee meets on a monthly basis to guide the application of the CRRF, mobilize resources for refugees and their hosts, and ensure the inclusion of refugees in development strategies and fora. The strategy driving the application of comprehensive responses for the period 2017-2022 is the National Action Plan, which was validated in December 2017 (accessible here). The national action plan also serves as the road map for the implementation of the Nairobi Declaration, to which Djibouti is a signatory. The Nairobi Declaration for Somali refugees was adopted by Heads of State of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) at their March 2017 Special Summit; they committed to pursuing a regional approach to the Somali refugee situation, which, having lasted 30 years, is one of the most protracted refugee crises in the world.
As Djibouti continues to fulfill its pledges and pursues a more comprehensive approach to refugee situations, the Government is working towards refugee management policies that enhance the self-reliance of refugees while also responding to the development needs of the communities that host them. The Government of Djibouti, with the support of UNHCR, humanitarian and development actors, the World Bank, donors and diplomatic missions in Djibouti, are developing concrete measures to achieve these aims. In 2017, Djibouti was confirmed as a beneficiary of a portion of the World Bank’s IDA18 regional sub-window for refugees and host communities, a part-loan, part-grant financial facility that aims to support low-income countries that host refugees.
Djibouti is also one of the first countries where refugees are fully included in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF 2018-2022), ensuring that refugees are fully included and mainstreamed in the Government’s and the UN’s development efforts. Now that refugees are formally allowed to seek employment, UNHCR in Djibouti is working closely with the Djiboutian Chamber of Commerce in order to advocate for the inclusion of refugees in the workforce through the private sector.
In the context of CRRF, UNHCR operation continues to develop its partnership with line ministries. Several discussions and meetings have been ongoing to reinforce the collaboration between UNHCR and government authorities.
CRRF Contact Persons in the UNHCR Operation in Djibouti
Albert Katumba (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Capucine Jorda (email@example.com)
Vanessa J Panaligan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
 As at end 2016, source: World Bank
 As of 30th April 2018
This new Livelihoods Strategic Plan for Djibouti provides foundational knowledge in livelihood and economic inclusion programming, socio-economic assessment and targeting of population groups, and results-based management. The strategic plan was developed with significant support from the Government of Djibouti and ONARS (l’Office National d’Assistance pour les Réfugiés et les Sinistrés), UNHCR’s main counterpart in Djibouti. National ministries, agencies and municipal officials, as well as NGOs and private sector entities such as the Djiboutian Chamber of Commerce contributed to the strategy, helping to understand market realities and opportunities for the near and medium term future.
Cette affiche donne un aperçu des principaux développements dans les pays africains qui appliquent des réponses globales pour les réfugiés.
This monthly document summarizes key developments in the application of comprehensive refugee responses worldwide.
Circulaire officiel de la Banque centrale de Djibouti, datee du 2 août 2018, annonçant le droit des réfugiés d'avoir un compte bancaire.
This poster provides an overview of key developments in the African countries that are applying comprehensive refugee responses.