The Republic of Djibouti is a small country on the northeast coast of the Horn of Africa. It is located near the Bab el Mandeb Strait and is bordered by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in the east, Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the southwest, and Somalia in the south. Historically, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia were part of the Land of Punt, an ancient kingdom that traded heavily with ancient Egypt. Djibouti is a multi-ethnic nation, with the population being predominantly Somali and Afar.
Prior to gaining independence from France in 1977, Djibouti was known as French Somaliland from 1896 to 1967, and the French Territory of the Afars and Issas from 1967 to 1977. The current monetary unit in Djibouti is the franc. The first series of franc banknotes were issued by the Banque Nationale de Djibouti (the National Bank of Djibouti) in 1978. These banknotes featured peoples from different African tribes and ethnicities on the front and the diverse landscapes in the nation at the back. In 2000, the Banque Nationale changed its name to the Banque Centrale de Djibouti (Central Bank of Djibouti). In 2002, the Central Bank released a new family of banknotes. The 2,000 and 10,000 franc banknotes retained their designs. However, the 1,000 and 5,000 franc banknotes were redesigned. The newer designs feature prominent politicians: Ali Ahmed Oudoum on the 1,000 franc note and Prime Minister Mahamoud Harbi on the 5,000 franc note. All of the banknotes have sharper colors, stronger security features, and are still in circulation to this day. In 2017, the Central Bank of Djibouti issued a commemorative 40 franc banknote to celebrate the Jubile d’Emeraude (Emerald Jubilee), the 40th anniversary of Djibouti independence. The note, instead of featuring a person on the obverse side, showcases a whale shark swimming along a coral reef. Its reverse side shows a port scene with gantry cranes and container ships, highlighting Djibouti’s role in the international shipping business.