On the northeast coat of the Horn of Africa lies the small country of the Republic of Djibouti. It is located near the Bab el Mandeb Strait and bordered by Somalia in the south, Ethiopia in the southwest, Eritrea in the north, and the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in the east. Djibouti was once part of the Land of Punt, an ancient kingdom that had strong trading connections with ancient Egypt.
It is also a multi-ethnic nation that is predominantly Somali and Afar.
Though Djibouti has little arable land, its economy relies heavily on its location, which connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Djibouti’s port complex is one of the most sophisticated in the world, being adjacent to some of the busiest shipping lanes and hosting military bases for France, the US, Japan, China, and NATO.
Djibouti’s economy has relatively grown in the past few years due to its political stability.
Djibouti was a former colony of France. It was known as French Somaliland from 1896 to 1967, and the French Territory of the Afars and Issas from 1967 to 1977.
Even though Djibouti gained independence in 1977, it still uses the franc as its currency. The Banque Nationale de Djibouti (National Bank of Djibouti) issued the first Djibouti franc notes in 1978. This first series highlighted Djibouti’s multi-ethnic population, with different tribes and ethnicities gracing the front side of the notes and diverse landscapes at the back.
The Banque Nationale de Djibouti changed its name to the Banque Centrale de Djibouti (Central Bank of Djibouti) in 2000. Two years later, the Banque Centrale issued a new family of banknotes, with the 1,000 and 5,000 franc notes featuring prominent politicians instead of ethnic tribes. The 2002 series also had sharper colors and stronger security features.
The 2002 banknote designs are still in circulation to this day.
In 2017, the Banque Centrale issued a commemorative 40 franc note for the 40th anniversary of Djibouti’s Independence from France. This commemorative note does not feature humans. Instead, it highlights the importance of marine life and the shipping industry by featuring a whale shark in a coral reef on the obverse side and the port complex on the reverse side.