Decentralization/Federalism: Agreement for the Reform and Civil Concord


Article 18: On the Goals of the Decentralization.

The two Parties agree about the general goals of the decentralization on the following levels:

1) Political level = participation of the citizens by means of their locally elected in the administration and development of their community.

2) Administrative level = establishing of a more efficient administration as it will be closer to those administered.

3) Economic level = promote economic development poles outside the capital and reduce regional disparities.

Article 19: On the State of Decentralization.

a) The decentralization, ratified by the Constitution, is conceived in Djibouti as being an integral part of the process of democratization and modernization of administrative structures within the framework of institutional reforms.

b) The two Parties agree that only a genuine decentralization can release the individual and collective energies which are capable of extracting the regions from their present state of desertion.

Article 20: On the Legal Framework.

They adopt the decentralization law project annexed to the present Agreement as an organic law determining the legal framework of the decentralization.

Article 21: On Levels of Decentralization.

a) The two Parties agree on the levels of decentralization which are two in number, viz. the region and the municipality.

b) The two Parties have accepted to first organize the regions and thereafter the municipalities.

The 5 regions are: Ali-Sabieh, Arta, Dikhil, Obock and Tadjourah. The capital city will be granted a unique status.

Article 22: National Committee of Decentralization.

a) A committee for the organization of the decentralization made up of twelve (12) members, whereof 3 representatives from each signatory party of the above mentioned Framework Agreement for Reform and Civil Concord, is set up.

This committee is responsible for:

- Carrying into effect the decentralization;

- Monitoring the establishment of regional institutions and of the section of the judicial court specialized in administrative disputes and in the control of public spending;

- Participating in the definition of the contents of legislative and statutory texts planned for by the present Law and watching over their enforcement.

This steering committee will meet monthly under the collegiate chairmanship of a representative of each of the signatory parties of the Framework Agreement for Reform and Civil Concord until the measures necessary for the decentralization have been applied.

This committee establishes a quarterly public report covering its activities.

The mandate of this committee will last until regional communities have been effectively organized.

A decree will define the conditions and volumes of the financial grants approved by the central power for the decentralized regions. These grants must correspond with the real needs of each region and will be defined on the basis of objective criteria.

Implementation History


Minimum Implementation

A process to transfer power to local entities was started in 1995 but the actual transfer of duties and power remained an issue. 


Intermediate Implementation

Djibouti’s National Assembly, on 7 July 2002 passed Decentralization and Status of the Regions (Act No. 174/AN/02/4ème L), which created five regional local authorities known as: Regions Arta, Ali Sabieh, Dikhil, Obock and Tadjoura (the latter 3 mainly Afar) equipped with legal personality under public law and financial autonomy. The decentralization law also made provisions for the establishment and organization of Commons.1

It was reported that regional councilors elected by local populations would be in charge of each of the country's five administrative entities.2

  • 1. “Loi no 174/AN/02/4ème L portant Décentralisation et Statut des Régions,” Journal Officiel de la République de Djibouti, July 2, 2002, accessed February 20, 2015,
  • 2. "Djibouti: Newspaper assesses first half of president's term," BBC Sumary of World Broadcasts, May 10, 2002.

Intermediate Implementation

The decentralization law was passed in 2002 but elections for regional councilors did not take place this year. 


Intermediate Implementation

The decentralization law was passed in 2002 but elections for regional councilors did not take place this year. 


Minimum Implementation

The regional and municipal elections were scheduled for 30 December 2005. The interior minister urged all citizens to register and participate fully in the elections. It was also said that, in case of a run-off, a second round of the elections would be held on 20 January 2006.3

The elections were again postponed.

  • 3. "Djibouti to hold communal, regional polls 30 December," BBC Monitoring Africa – Political, November 10, 2005.

Full Implementation

According to the Djibouti News Agency (ADI), the regional and communal elections were held on 10 March 2006.4

The elections were held and in all the regional assemblies, People’s Rally for Progress (RPP) won a majority of seats. In the Ali-Sabieh Regional Assembly, Balbala Communal Assembly, and Boualos Communal Assembly, a second round of elections were needed.5

  • 4. "Djibouti issues final lists of candidates for 10 March communal polls," BBC Monitoring Africa – Political, February 22, 2006.
  • 5. "10 & 31 March 2006 Regional and Communal Elections in Djibouti," African Election Database, accessed February 20, 2015,

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.


Full Implementation

No further developments observed.


Full Implementation

No further developments observed.


Full Implementation

No further developments observed.