What Is the Djiboutian Franc (DJF)?

The DJF is the ISO currency code for the Djiboutian franc, which is the official currency of the African country of Djibouti. The Djibout franc is pegged to the U.S. dollar (USD) at a rate of $1 to 177.721 DJF.

Key Takeaways

  • The Djiboutian franc (DJF) is the official currency for the African country of Djubouti, formerly known as French Somaliland.
  • The DJF replaced the French franc as official currency in 1949, but the country did not gain full independence until 1967.
  • The Djiboutian franc is pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 177.721 to 1.

Understanding the Djiboutian Franc

When Djibouti became part of the French protectorate in 1884, the French franc was introduced to Djibouti and was used in exchange along with the Indian rupee (INR) and the Maria Theresa thaler. In 1908, the first Djiboutian franc appear and was issued at par against the French franc, with banknotes issued by the Bank of Indochina starting in 1910.

The modern Djibouti franc was not introduced until 1949, when it was pegged against the U.S. dollar at an exchange rate of 1 USD = 214.392 DJB. The country gained full independence from France in 1967, and in the early 1970s the DJB was revalued at a rate of 1 USD = 177.721 DJB, where it remains today.

The Banque Centrale de Djibouti issues and manages the DJF. Coins are minted in denominations of 500, 250, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 franc. Banknotes are printed in 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 DJF denominations. According to currency rankings, the most commonly used Djibouti franc exchange rate is the EUR/DJF rate.

Djibouti’s Economy

With fewer than one million citizens and geographically smaller than the state of New Jersey, the Republic of Djibouti is a tiny but strategically located nation. It is situated between the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, and is the gateway to the Suez Canal, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Djibouti is also sandwiched between Somalia and Ethiopia.

Despite its strategic location, Djibouti continues to be one of the poorest countries in the world. The country receives almost no rainfall, and 96 percent of its land mass is unsuitable for agriculture due to the lack of arability. At the same time, Djibouti has little in the way of natural resources, such as oil, minerals or forest products, so it lacks in industry and export commodities beyond animal hides and skins and scrap metal. As a result, services and taxes connected to its deep water port facilities account for more than 75 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Djibouti also relies heavily on foreign aid to fund its balance of payments and development projects.

Depending on estimates, anywhere from two-thirds to three-quarters of all Djibouti’s citizens reside in its capital city; the majority of the remainder are nomads trying to scratch out a living as shepherds, herders or farmers. For 2019, the country’s unemployment rate was estimated at 11 percent. However, that’s much less dire than the 60 percent rate of unemployment that was estimated from 2014. Nevertheless, the rate of youth unemployment continues to be problematic; it was estimated at nearly 21 percent for 2019. For 2019, the country's GDP grew at an annual rate of 7% with inflation at 3.3%.