Definition of Youth

There is no official definition of youth for Djibouti. Reports by the IMF and UNCRC refer to the group of those aged between 15-24 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • --
  • --
  • Female
  • 18
  • --
  • --

  • Marriage of minors under the age of legal majority is subject to the consent of their guardians. If consent is refused, the marriage may be authorized by a judge. No specific legislation for same-sex marriage. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
For youth aged 13-18, penalties are halved, and juvenile offenders must be granted more lenient conditions of detention. Source:  Penal Code of Dijibouti

Majority Age


Source: UN-Source: CRC/C/DJI/2 (2007)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • -- Male (15-24) %
  • -- Female (15-24) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 29.11%Male %
  • 21.04% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 22.70% Male (13-15) %
  • 14.30% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
The 2001-2005 national youth policy focused on development, empowerment and integration. It hasn’t been replaced.

According to the UNCRC – Djibouti report (2007), the national youth policy of 2001-2005 focused on,   development, empowerment and social integration of young people by adapting institutional and strategic policies to the concerns of Djiboutian youth.   Current initiatives give priority to the role of associations and decentralization of decision-making.   The Djibouti: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (2008) notes that efforts are deemed insufficient “to meet the legitimate expectations of young people and to solve the problems facing them.”   Key problems are lack access to quality education, and youth unemployment. The formulation and implementation of a national youth promotion strategy is thus a priority for the future.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
In Djibouti the Secretariat of State for Youth and Sports proposes and implements government policy in the fields of youth and sports.   According to the UNCRC – Djibouti report (2007), governmental bodies in the field of youth are restructured in order to better address the needs of youths. However, the Djibouti: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (2008) notes that institutions are short of fiscal resources, many projects rely on external funding.   Djibouti is member of two international bodies in the field of the youth CONFEJES and CJSOI.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
A National Youth Council (CNJB) was formed in 2007 and according to the UNCRC – Djibouti report (2007), seeks “to place the difficulties of young people at the centre of all public decision-making.” The Djibouti: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (2008) notes that it aims to increase the involvement of young people in decision-making processes.   The council is a platform for dialogue, expression of interests, and action and facilitates dialogue between young people, governments, and international organizations.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
According to the World Bank, Djibouti spent 22.83% of its government expenditure and 8.41% of its GDP on education provision in 2007.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

According to the 2008 Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy Paper:

However, these [government] efforts [in the field of youth] have no strategic focus, reference framework or coordination and cannot suffice to meet the legitimate expectations of young people and to solve the problems facing them. These problems include: (i) access to an education that responds to the needs of the market; (ii) unemployment – over 90 per cent of young people between 15 and 24 years of age have no activity; and (iii) confidence in the future of the country – more than half of the young people are thinking of emigrating.

The African Economic Outlook for Djibouti highlights:

Unemployment is endemic in the country and particularly affects the young. Despite a recent reduction, the most recent estimates show an unemployment rate of 54% of the active population in 2010, compared with 59% in 2002. The country does not currently have a formal strategy to deal with youth unemployment, but has put in place several initiatives.

The two main initiatives set up to promote youth employment are the young graduate loan and the young promoters’ loan. The young graduate loan scheme was set up in 2011 by the Djibouti social development agency ADDS (Agence djiboutienne de développement social) with funding of USD 40 million to support the business start-up projects of young graduates. … The young promoters’ loan scheme was launched in 2011 and is aimed at those with projects linked to the primary sector (fisheries, agriculture and livestock), to support business start-ups and to improve poor development in the sector. …

While it is true that the economy generates few new jobs, there is also an imbalance between the needs of the labour market and the skills of young people.

The unemployment experienced by young people is explained by the problems that exist in demand as well as supply. On the supply side, the country’s economy generates few jobs. In 2010, 37 837 waged jobs were recorded, 30% of which came from the public sector. Between 2009 and 2010 only 2 473 jobs were created. This low level is explained by the fact that the private sector is not yet sufficiently well developed to create enough jobs, particularly for new graduates. However, as well as the low level of jobs created each year, there is also a strong mismatch between labour market needs and young people's skills. Furthermore, employers are not prepared to take on young graduates who have no professional experience, demanding at least two to three years of previous experience.

On the demand side, inadequate skills compared with the needs of the labour market result in large part from the fact that the state has historically been the main provider of jobs in the country. So the courses offered, particularly by the university, have been aimed at civil service careers to the detriment of the private sector. While the state has frozen recruitment for several years, with the exception of the ministries of education and health, adjustments in terms of the courses offered and of attitudes do not happen overnight. The result is high expectations amongst the young, especially graduates, for whom the ideal job is in the civil service. Furthermore, they base their salary expectations on public sector rates, which have historically been relatively high, thanks to the country’s rent income.