China takes the lead in securing Djibouti port news roundup

Posted on Mar 13 2018 - 9:02am by Editor

Doraleh: l’Etat djiboutien rassure les investissuers

[Doraleh Container Terminal: Djibouti reassures investors]

La Tribune Afrique

In the context of setting up the Société de Gestion du Terminal à Conteneurs de Doraleh (SGTD), Djibouti issued an official press release outlining its plans for Doraleh (further details below in ‘Djibouti: The new ambitions of the DCT’). The article concludes citing Rex Tillerson who following his visit to Djibouti said in a statement to the press that talks were held on reforms encouraging long-term prosperity via more investment and trade, as well as on the need to strengthen good governance and institution building.


Africa: The Secretary’s Meeting with Djiboutian President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh


AllAfrica has published the transcript of the press meeting between US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Djiboutian Foreign Minsiter Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, quoted above in La Tribune Afrique. The main focus was on cooperation regarding security, as well as on Djibouti’s economic prosperity and the need for further institution-building. The only reference to the port was Tillerson’s mention that “Djibouti is a very important port for the delivery and the distribution of food assistance to so many countries.”


Djibouti: The new ambitions of the Doraleh Container Terminal


AllAfrica reposted an official press release outlining the ambitions for the Doraleh Container Terminal, in which “the Republic of Djibouti reaffirms its strategic wish to preserve and develop container terminal activities, respecting the rule of law and in the best interests of all stakeholders.” It cites the creation of the Société de Gestion du Terminal à Conteneurs de Doraleh (SGTD), a public company whose sole shareholder is the State of Djibouti, intended to take over the port’s activities in such a way that it defends the country’s sovereign interests. The recent agreement with Pacific International Lines “reflects the renewed confidence of operators and Djibouti’s willingness to diversify its partners.” The bottom line is that “The Government of the Republic of Djibouti guarantees all its historical partners, private and public, including friendly great nations, of its commitment to openness, its willingness to promote and defend the interests of everyone in the respect of the law and in fairness. The ultimate goal remains to invest fully, strongly, in the attractiveness of DCT and other port facilities in the country. These infrastructures are fundamental elements of the national economic and social development plan of Djibouti.”


Djibouti: We’re not giving the Doraleh site to China

Africa Times

An article in the Africa Times reports on Djibouti having pushed back against “what is called “mercilessly pillorying” over speculation” that Doraleh is being used to expand China’s influence in the Horn of Africa and undermine the US position. Citing Djibouti’s ambassador to the U.S. Mohamed Siad Doaleh, “Djibouti is a committed friend and ally of the United States.” According to Doaleh, that Djibouti may terminate the US lease before its term is up is incomprehensible, while the suggestion that Djibouti ended the contract with DP World in order to give it to China is “equally false.” Doaleh Tweeted the official clarification response, featured also in the Africa Times article.


‘Weaponizing capital’: US worries over China’s expanding role in Africa


The CNN article focuses exclusively on the Doraleh Container Terminal as concerns amplify in Washington over China’s growing influence in the “critically strategic region.” President Guelleh has so far been welcoming to China’s role in the Djiboutian economy, with China having provided it with more than $1.4 billion in infrastructure funding to date. During a press conference with Rex Tillerson, Djibouti’s foreign minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf praised China by saying “Let me first underline the fact that no country can develop itself without having a strong infrastructure. And China is, from that perspective, a very good partner.” According to M. A. Youssouf, the debt to China is “so far manageable.” The article notes that Doraleh itself did not receive any mention during the press conference.


Djibouti downplays China debt as US fears loss of critical port

Washington Examiner

Visiting Camp Lemonnier, Tillerson said “Our message is for countries to consider carefully what the terms of those agreements are, and not forfeit ay elements of your sovereignty as you enter into such arrangements with China.” Meanwhile Djibouti’s foreign minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf downplayed Djibouti’s debt to China, while recognizing that “China is doing a good job in terms of financing our infrastructure.” Tillerson made clear that the most important area for cooperation, and issue at stake, is security.


Face à l’influence chinoise, Tillerson réaffirme les liens avec Djibouti

[Faced with Chinese influence, Tillerson reaffirms ties with Djibouti]

RFI Afrique

While in Djibouti, Tillerson met with President Ismail Guelleh and Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf. Talks focused on security and cooperation. Despite the US having previously made clear its concerns over Chinese expansion across Africa and in Djibouti, this was not a topic of discussion during the talks. Youssouf subsequently Tweeted, making clear that the presence of US troops in Djibouti serves the interests of peace and security, that China is not an obstacle to such goals, and that Doraleh remains wholly owned by Djibouti.


Ministère du Budget: Atelier sur la méthodologie d’élaboration d’une stratégie de gestion de la dette à moyen terme

[Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy Workshop held by the Public Dept Deparmtent]

La Nation

The Public Debt Department at the Ministry of Budgets organized a training workshop focusing on the formulation of a medium-term debt management strategy, supported by the local office of the World Bank. The aim was to provide a framework for controlling risks .

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