Introduction

Africa :: Djibouti

Background:
The French Territory of the Afars and the Issas became Djibouti in 1977. Hassan Gouled APTIDON installed an authoritarian one-party state and proceeded to serve as president until 1999. Unrest among the Afar minority during the 1990s led to a civil war that ended in 2001 with a peace accord between Afar rebels and the Somali Issa-dominated government. In 1999, Djibouti's first multiparty presidential elections resulted in the election of Ismail Omar GUELLEH as president; he was reelected to a second term in 2005 and extended his tenure in office via a constitutional amendment, which allowed him to begin a third term in 2011. Djibouti occupies a strategic geographic location at the intersection of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and serves as an important shipping portal for goods entering and leaving the east African highlands and transshipments between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The government holds longstanding ties to France, which maintains a significant military presence in the country, and has strong ties with the United States. Djibouti hosts several thousand members of US armed services at US-run Camp Lemonnier.

Geography

Location:
Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, between Eritrea and Somalia

Geographic coordinates:
11 30 N, 43 00 E

Map references:
Africa

Area:
Total: 23,200 sq km
Country comparison to the world: 151
Land: 23,180 sq km
Water: 20 sq km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Massachusetts

Land boundaries:
Total: 516 km
Border countries: Eritrea 109 km, Ethiopia 349 km, Somalia 58 km

Coastline:
314 km

Maritime claims:
Territorial sea: 12 nm
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate:
desert; torrid, dry

Terrain:
coastal plain and plateau separated by central mountains

Elevation extremes:
Lowest point: Lac Assal -155 m
Highest point: Moussa Ali 2,028 m

Natural resources:
potential geothermal power, gold, clay, granite, limestone, marble, salt, diatomite, gypsum, pumice, petroleum

Land use:
Arable land: 0.09%
Permanent crops: 0%
Other: 99.91% (2011)

Irrigated land:
10.12 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
0.3 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
Total: 0.02 cu km/yr (84%/0%/16%)
Per capita: 24.84 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:
earthquakes; droughts; occasional cyclonic disturbances from the Indian Ocean bring heavy rains and flash floods
Volcanism: experiences limited volcanic activity; Ardoukoba (elev. 298 m) last erupted in 1978; Manda-Inakir, located along the Ethiopian border, is also historically active

Environment - current issues:
inadequate supplies of potable water; limited arable land; desertification; endangered species

Environment - international agreements:
Party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
Signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:
strategic location near world's busiest shipping lanes and close to Arabian oilfields; terminus of rail traffic into Ethiopia; mostly wasteland; Lac Assal (Lake Assal) is the lowest point in Africa and the saltiest lake in the world

People and Society

Nationality:
Noun: Djiboutian(s)
Adjective: Djiboutian

Ethnic groups:
Somali 60%, Afar 35%, other 5% (includes French, Arab, Ethiopian, and Italian)

Languages:
French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar

Religions:
Muslim 94%, Christian 6%

Population:
792,198 (July 2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 162

Age structure:
0-14 years: 33.6% (male 133,401/female 132,836)
15-24 years: 22% (male 82,174/female 92,321)
25-54 years: 36.3% (male 119,588/female 167,711)
55-64 years: 4.6% (male 17,416/female 19,269)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 12,352/female 15,130) (2013 est.)

Dependency ratios:
Total dependency ratio: 60.5 %
Youth dependency ratio: 54.1 %
Elderly dependency ratio: 6.4 %
Potential support ratio: 15.7 (2013)

Median age:
Total: 22.4 years
Male: 20.8 years
Female: 23.7 years (2013 est.)

Population growth rate:
2.26% (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 41

Birth rate:
24.5 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 61

Death rate:
7.96 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 103

Net migration rate:
6.04 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 20

Urbanization:
Urban population: 77.1% of total population (2011)
Rate of urbanization: 1.96% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population:
DJIBOUTI (capital) 496,000 (2011)

Sex ratio:
At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.89 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.72 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2013 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:
200 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Country comparison to the world: 54

Infant mortality rate:
Total: 51.77 deaths/1,000 live births
Country comparison to the world: 40
Male: 59.2 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 44.11 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
Total population: 61.99 years
Country comparison to the world: 187
Male: 59.52 years
Female: 64.52 years (2013 est.)

Total fertility rate:
2.55 children born/woman (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 80

Contraceptive prevalence rate:
17.8% (2006)

Health expenditures:
7.2% of GDP (2010)
Country comparison to the world: 77

Physicians density:
0.23 physicians/1,000 population (2006)

Hospital bed density:
1.4 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source:
Improved:
urban: 99% of population
rural: 54% of population
total: 88% of population
Unimproved:
urban: 1% of population
rural: 46% of population
total: 12% of population (2010 est.)

Sanitation facility access:
Improved:
urban: 63% of population
rural: 10% of population
total: 50% of population
Unimproved:
urban: 37% of population
rural: 90% of population
total: 50% of population (2010 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
2.5% (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 26

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
14,000 (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 86

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,000 (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 69

Major infectious diseases:
Degree of risk: high
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne disease: dengue fever
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2013)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
9.4% (2008)
Country comparison to the world: 134

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
29.6% (2006)
Country comparison to the world: 15

Education expenditures:
8.4% of GDP (2007)
Country comparison to the world: 9

Literacy:
Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 67.9%
Male: 78%
Female: 58.4% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
Total: 6 years
Male: 6 years
Female: 5 years (2011)

Child labor - children ages 5-14:
Total number: 13,176
Percentage: 8 % (2006 est.)

Government

Country name:
Conventional long form: Republic of Djibouti
Conventional short form: Djibouti
Local long form: Republique de Djibouti/Jumhuriyat Jibuti
Local short form: Djibouti/Jibuti
Former: French Territory of the Afars and Issas, French Somaliland

Government type:
republic

Capital:
Name: Djibouti
Geographic coordinates: 11 35 N, 43 09 E
Time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:
6 districts (cercles, singular - cercle); Ali Sabieh, Arta, Dikhil, Djibouti, Obock, Tadjourah

Independence:
27 June 1977 (from France)

National holiday:
Independence Day, 27 June (1977)

Constitution:
approved by referendum 4 September 1992; note - constitution allows for multiple parties

Legal system:
mixed legal system based primarily on the French civil code (as it existed in 1997), Islamic religious law (in matters of family law and successions), and customary law

International law organization participation:
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
Chief of state: President Ismail Omar GUELLEH (since 8 May 1999)
Head of government: Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil MOHAMED (since 1 April 2013)
Cabinet: Council of Ministers responsible to the president
Elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; president is eligible to hold office until age 75; election last held on 8 April 2011 (next to be held by 2016); prime minister appointed by the president
Election results: Ismail Omar GUELLEH reelected president for a third term; percent of vote - Ismail Omar GUELLEH 80.6%, Mohamed Warsama RAGUEH 19.4%

Legislative branch:
unicameral Chamber of Deputies or Chambre des Deputes (65 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms); note - constitutional amendments in 2010 provided for the establishment of a senate
Elections: last held on 22 February 2013 (next to be held in 2018)
Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats - UMP (coalition of parties associated with President Ismail Omar GUELLEH) 49, USN 16

Judicial branch:
Highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of NA magistrates); Constitutional Council (consists of 6 magistrates)
Judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court magistrates appointed by the president with the advice of the Superior Council of the Magistracy; magistrates appointed for life with retirement at age 65; Constitutional magistrates - 2 appointed by the president, 2 by the president of the National Assembly, and 2 by High Council of the Judiciary; magistrates appointed for 8-year, non-renewable terms
Subordinate courts: High Court of Appeal; 5 Courts of First Instance; customary courts

Political parties and leaders:
Democratic National Party or PND [ADEN Robleh Awaleh]
Democratic Renewal Party or PRD [Abdillahi HAMARITEH]
Djibouti Development Party or PDD [Mohamed Daoud CHEHEM]
Front pour la Restauration de l'Unite Democratique or FRUD [Ali Mohamed DAOUD]
Movement for Development and Liberty or MODEL [Sheikh Guirreh MEIDAL]
People's Rally for Progress or RPP [Ismail Omar GUELLEH] (governing party)
Peoples Social Democratic Party or PPSD [Moumin Bahdon FARAH]
Republican Alliance for Democracy or ARD [Ahmed YOUSSOUF]
Union for a Presidential Majority or UMP [Mohamed Dileita DILEITA] (a coalition of parties including RPP, FRUD, PND, and PPSD)
Union for Democracy and Justice or UDJ
Union for National Salvation or USN (an umbrella coalition comprising PRD, PDD, MODEL, ARD, and UDJ)

Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA

International organization participation:
ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AU, CAEU (candidates), COMESA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS, MIGA, MINURSO, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
Chief of mission: Ambassador Roble OLHAYE Oudine
Chancery: Suite 515, 1156 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005
Telephone: [1] (202) 331-0270
FAX: [1] (202) 331-0302

Diplomatic representation from the US:
Chief of mission: Ambassador Geeta PASI
Embassy: Lot 350-B, Haramouss, Djibouti
Mailing address: B. P. 185, Djibouti
Telephone: [253] 21 45 30 00
FAX: [253] 21 45 30 20

National anthem:
Name: "Jabuuti" (Djibouti)

Lyrics/music: Aden ELMI/Abdi ROBLEH
note: adopted 1977

Economy

Economy - overview:
Djibouti's economy is based on service activities connected with the country's strategic location and status as a free trade zone in the Horn of Africa. Three-fourths of Djibouti's inhabitants live in the capital city; the remainder are mostly nomadic herders. Scant rainfall limits crop production to small quantities of fruits and vegetables, and most food must be imported. Djibouti provides services as both a transit port for the region and an international transshipment and refueling center. Imports, exports, and re-exports - primarily of coffee from landlocked neighbor Ethiopia - represent 70% of port activity at Djibouti's container terminal. Djibouti has few natural resources and little industry. The nation is, therefore, heavily dependent on foreign assistance to help support its balance of payments and to finance development projects. An unemployment rate of nearly 60% continues to be a major problem. While inflation is not a concern, due to the fixed tie of the Djiboutian franc to the US dollar, the artificially high value of the Djiboutian franc adversely affects Djibouti's balance of payments. Djibouti holds foreign reserves amounting to less than six months of import coverage. Per capita consumption dropped an estimated 35% between 1999 and 2006 because of recession, civil war, and a high population growth rate (including immigrants and refugees). Djibouti has experienced relatively minimal impact from the global economic downturn, but its reliance on diesel-generated electricity and imported food leave average consumers vulnerable to global price shocks. Djibouti in 2012 began construction of a third port to secure its position as a critical transshipment hub in the Horn of Africa and the principal conduit for Ethiopia's trade. Djibouti also received funding in late 2012 for a desalination plant to begin address the severe freshwater shortage affecting Djibouti City, and particularly its poorest residents.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$2.418 billion (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 187
$2.307 billion (2011 est.)
$2.208 billion (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$1.354 billion (2012 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
4.8% (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 68
4.5% (2011 est.)
3.5% (2010 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$2,700 (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 181
$2,700 (2011 est.)
$2,600 (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars

Gross national saving:
13.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 111
16.1% of GDP (2011 est.)
34.4% of GDP (2010 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use:
Household consumption: 58%
Government consumption: 25.2%
Investment in fixed capital: 31.1%
Exports of goods and services: 39.3%
Imports of goods and services: -54.1%
(2012 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
Agriculture: 3.1%
Industry: 16.9%
Services: 80% (2012 est.)

Agriculture - products:
fruits, vegetables; goats, sheep, camels, animal hides

Industries:
construction, agricultural processing

Industrial production growth rate:
4.2% (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 64

Labor force:
351,700 (2007)
Country comparison to the world: 161

Labor force - by occupation:
Agriculture: NA%
Industry: NA%
Services: NA%

Unemployment rate:
59% (2007 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 196
note: data are for urban areas, 83% in rural areas

Population below poverty line:
42% (2007 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Lowest 10%: 2.4%
Highest 10%: 30.9% (2002)

Budget:
Revenues: $465.9 million
Expenditures: $503 million (2012 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
34.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 69

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-2.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 104

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.8% (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 117
4.4% (2011 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
10% (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 82
10.61% (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of narrow money:
$780.7 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 155
$692.6 million (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of broad money:
$1.158 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 164
$1.008 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$473.1 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 173
$426.3 million (31 December 2011 est.)

Current account balance:
$4.2 million (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 57
$33 million (2011 est.)

Exports:
$87.1 million (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 191
$85 million (2011 est.)

Exports - commodities:
reexports, hides and skins, coffee (in transit)

Exports - partners:
Somalia 78.4%, Egypt 5.3%, UAE 4%, Yemen 4% (2012)

Imports:
$579.5 million (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 190
$510.6 million (2011 est.)

Imports - commodities:
foods, beverages, transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum products

Imports - partners:
China 24.4%, Saudi Arabia 16.1%, India 10.6%, Indonesia 7.3%, Pakistan 4.1% (2012)

Debt - external:
$772.1 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 167
$767 million (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$510.6 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 99
$410.6 million (31 December 2011 est.)

Exchange rates:
Djiboutian francs (DJF) per US dollar -
177.72 (2012 est.)
177.72 (2011 est.)
177.72 (2010 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production:
350 million kWh (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 166

Electricity - consumption:
325.5 million kWh (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 170

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 186

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 178

Electricity - installed generating capacity:
130,000 kW (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 165

Electricity - from fossil fuels:
100% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 12

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 76

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 167

Electricity - from other renewable sources:
0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 124

Crude oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 125

Crude oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 101

Crude oil - imports:
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 176

Crude oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 123

Refined petroleum products - production:
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 170

Refined petroleum products - consumption:
12,460 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 149

Refined petroleum products - exports:
19.18 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 122

Refined petroleum products - imports:
7,987 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 134

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 120

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 136

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 87

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 184

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 128

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
2.352 million Mt (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 147

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use:
18,400 (2011)
Country comparison to the world: 193

Telephones - mobile cellular:
193,000 (2011)
Country comparison to the world: 181

Telephone system:
General assessment: telephone facilities in the city of Djibouti are adequate, as are the microwave radio relay connections to outlying areas of the country
Domestic: Djibouti Telecom is the sole provider of telecommunications services and utilizes mostly a microwave radio relay network; fiber-optic cable is installed in the capital; rural areas connected via wireless local loop radio systems; mobile cellular coverage is primarily limited to the area in and around Djibouti city
International: country code - 253; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 and EASSy fiber-optic submarine cable systems providing links to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intelsat - Indian Ocean and 1 Arabsat); Medarabtel regional microwave radio relay telephone network (2009)

Broadcast media:
state-owned Radiodiffusion-Television de Djibouti (RTD) operates the sole terrestrial TV station as well as the only 2 domestic radio networks; no private TV or radio stations; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available (2007)

Internet country code:
.dj

Internet hosts:
215 (2012)
Country comparison to the world: 200

Internet users:
25,900 (2009)
Country comparison to the world: 185

Transportation

Airports:
13 (2013)
Country comparison to the world: 152

Airports - with paved runways:
Total: 3
Over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
Total: 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 7
Under 914 m:
2 (2013)

Railways:
Total: 100 km (Djibouti segment of the 781 km Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway)
Country comparison to the world: 126
Narrow gauge: 100 km 1.000-m gauge
note: railway is under joint control of Djibouti and Ethiopia but is largely inoperable (2008)

Roadways:
Total: 3,065 km
Country comparison to the world: 165
Paved: 1,226 km
Unpaved: 1,839 km (2000)

Ports and terminals:
Major seaport(s): Djibouti

Transportation - note:
while attacks decreased significantly in 2012, the International Maritime Bureau reports offshore waters in the Gulf of Aden remain a high risk for piracy; the presence of several naval task forces in the Gulf of Aden and additional anti-piracy measures on the part of ship operators, including the use of on-board armed security teams, contributed to the drop in incidents

Military

Military branches:
Djibouti Armed Forces (Forces Armees Djiboutiennes, FAD): Djibouti National Army (includes Navy, Djiboutian Air Force (Force Aerienne Djiboutienne, FAD), National Gendarmerie (GN)) (2013)

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; 16-25 years of age for voluntary military training; no conscription (2012)

Manpower available for military service:
Males age 16-49: 170,386
Females age 16-49: 221,411 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
Males age 16-49: 114,557
Females age 16-49: 154,173 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
Male: 8,360
Female: 8,602 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
3.6% of GDP (2011)
Country comparison to the world: 33

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:
Djibouti maintains economic ties and border accords with "Somaliland" leadership while maintaining some political ties to various factions in Somalia; Kuwait is chief investor in the 2008 restoration and upgrade of the Ethiopian-Djibouti rail link; in 2008, Eritrean troops moved across the border on Ras Doumera peninsula and occupied Doumera Island with undefined sovereignty in the Red Sea

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Refugees (country of origin): 18,725 (Somalia) (2013)

Trafficking in persons:
Current situation: Djibouti is a transit, source, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; economic migrants from East Africa en route to Yemen and other Middle East locations are vulnerable to exploitation in Djibouti; some woman and girls may be forced into domestic servitude or prostitution after reaching Djibouti City, the Ethiopian-Djiboutian trucking corridor, or Obock - the main crossing point into Yemen; Djiboutian and foreign children may be forced to beg, to work as domestic servants, or to commit theft and other petty crimes
Tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Djibouti does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; outside of child prostitution, the government fails to investigate or prosecute any other trafficking offenses, including those allegedly committed by complicit officials; it has made no attempt to implement the protection or prevention components of its anti-trafficking law, and its working group on trafficking was inactive in 2012; a draft national action plan against human trafficking remains incomplete (2013)

Flag of Djibouti



Flag description:
two equal horizontal bands of light blue (top) and light green with a white isosceles triangle based on the hoist side bearing a red five-pointed star in the center; blue stands for sea and sky and the Issa Somali people; green symbolizes earth and the Afar people; white represents peace; the red star recalls the struggle for independence and stands for unity