In business meetings across Djibouti it is customary to exchange greetings and shake hands. In some cases women prefer not to shake hands; in this case it is best to wait for an indication from the person herself. Relationship building and creating a network is important in the Djiboutian business community, and meetings are often opened by having a casual discussion about a personal topic. The host will usually indicate when the business discussion should commence.
The dress code in Djibouti is very flexible. Due to the hot weather, suits and ties are only reserved for high-level occasions, with business counterparts usually sporting only a shirt. Traditional wear can be observed as well and is the standard for women.
Most Djiboutians travel by way of public buses, usually costing DJF50 ($0.28) per route. The distinctly marked green and white taxis are available in most areas in the city and usually charge a minimum of DJF1000 ($5.60), although negotiation is possible. The construction of the rail-line will facilitate passenger travel to Ethiopia. For long-distance trips Djibouti is well-connected per air and will see more locations added under the re-launch of Air Djibouti, the national carrier. Local and international driving permits are acceptable. Driving is done on the right side of the road.
A hepatitis A vaccination is recommended but not required when entering Djibouti. Visitors should drink only bottled water. Medical clinics are accessible without prior registration and cost DJF7000 ($39.20) per visit. Two well-equipped hospitals exist in the capital – the French Military Hospital and Hospital Peltier.
Djibouti is a secure destination, where most travellers can access most parts of the capital and wider country in safety. Avoiding displays of wealth in low-income areas remains recommended.
French and Arabic are the official languages in Djibouti. However, the majority of the population speaks either Somali or Afar, the country’s two main ethnic languages, at home. English is also becoming increasingly common.
The dialling code is +253, and GSM telecommunications are readily accessible, with a substantial part of the population owning mobile phones. SIM cards can be purchased at any Djibouti Telecom shop for a one-time tariff of DJF2000 ($11.20) and upon presentation of a passport or identity card.
Mobiles can be topped up with DJF500 ($2.80), DJF1000 ($5.60), DJF2000 ($11.20), DJF5000 ($28) and DJF10,000 ($56) credit at mobile phone shops and convenience stores. Wi-Fi internet access is not widespread but increasing. Cyber cafes can be found throughout the capital.
A visa can be obtained on arrival at immigration for a fee of $90, valid for 30 days. Visa’s can be renewed in the country.
The national currency is the Djibouti Franc (DJF), with an exchange rate pegged to the dollar at a rate of DJF177 for $1. Bank bills are in denominations of 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10,000 DJF. Credit cards are not widely accepted and ATM access is limited. Foreign currency can be exchanged at authorised exchange offices, banks and on some street corners.
Tipping is considered customary in Djibouti, with tips in a restaurant or hotel usually being 10% for hotels and restaurants.
Djibouti uses the standard 220-V-50-Hz network. Two-pin plugs are standard.
The average work week in the country runs from Saturday to Thursday, 8am to 2pm. Many private companies reopen in the afternoon from 4pm to 7pm. Public holidays in Djibouti include all Islamic holidays and Christmas.
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