Djibouti is the least developed and most food-deficit country in the Horn of Africa. Recurrent drought and high food prices have taken their toll on this tiny nation, where 42 percent of the population lives in absolute poverty with 83 percent of those living in rural areas. The average life expectancy is 53 years.
In the hot, dry and arid climate, life becomes particularly difficult for the country’s pastoralists who have lost up to 70 percent of their livestock. Even in the best of times, Djibouti has a climate unsuited to crop production with less than eight inches of rainfall each year. The country compensates the gap by importing 90 percent of its food, making the country highly dependent on international market prices. Any variation in the international prices has a considerable impact on the poorest segment of the population, which spends 77 percent of household budgets on food.