With half the Djibouti population living below the established poverty level, this study presents a basic panoramic picture of the socio-economic conditions of this small African nation. Given the serious handicaps in collecting data, the authors’ attempt is no small feat. From the onset, the reader is informed that the data needed to calculate HDI is simply not available— a serious problem when attempting to calculate Djibouti’s key indicators of health, education and gender inequalities. The fact that the last census for Djibouti occurred in 1983 clearly illustrates the diffuculty. HDI calculations are thus based on ‘provisionary estimates’ from international organizations. Nevertheless, the Djibouti NHDR compensates for this data handicap by presenting extensive statistics regarding local demographics, sanitation and the role of women in society from various development organizations.