Ramadan in Djibouti

Life in the Port City

Port in Djibouti. James Jeffrey

It seems obvious that fasting between sunrise and sunset for the month of Ramadan would hurt productivity. But in the port city of Djibouti, East Africa’s premier trade hub, there can’t be any letup, even during Islam’s most holy month. The pressure is especially high this year, as landlocked neighbor Ethiopia’s burgeoning economy is proving insatiable and someone has to offload those ships.


Ramadan, which began on June 6, is a testing time for all those involved, especially if there’s work to be done. Every region tends to bring its own challenges. In northern Europe, Muslims have to contend with early sunrises, signaling the start of each day’s fast, and sunsets as late as 10 PM to mark the end of the fast. In the Horn of Africa, the sun tends to set at a more manageable 6:30. But beforehand, there are the hours of searing heat

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