Djibouti news roundup

Posted on Mar 15 2018 - 4:26pm by Editor

15 March 2018

Djibouti says its new container port to remain in state hands amid concerns of growing China influence

South China Morning Post

The SCMP reports on the comments made by Djibouti’s Inspector General Issa Sultan who said the Doraleh port would remain in state hands. According to Sultan, who is responsible for infrastructure oversight, “There is no China option and no secret plan for the Doraleh Container Terminal. The port is now 100 per cent managed by the state.” While the US has been expressing concerns over the port’s future, for Sultan and the Djiboutian government the “ultimate goal remains to invest strongly in the attractiveness of Doraleh and other port facilities in the country.”


Container port to remain in state hands, says Djibouti

Times of Oman

Citing Reuters, this article also reports that Doraleh will remain in state hands, quoting General Sultan as above.


DP World says Djibouti incident could hurt Africa investment


DP World said Thursday that Djibouti’s decision to seize control of Doraleh could undermine Africa’s ability to attract investment. Cited is the double challenge stemming from the abrupt termination of the Doraleh contract, and Somalia’s recent vote to ban the company. According to Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, “Africa needs infrastructure investments and if countries can change their law [to take assets then this] is going to basically make it more difficult to attract investment.”


DP World chairman says committed to port project in Somaliland


A short article on Reuters reports on DP’s statement of commitment to the port project in Somaliland despite Somalia’s opposition. The article goes on to report that according to DP World chairman Sultan bin Sulayem, the decision by Djibouti to end the contact with DP World to run the Doraleh Container Temrinal ‘will make it difficult for Africa to attract investment.’ He went on to say that DP World ‘does not know what motivated Djibouti to seize the container terminal.’ Bin Sulayem’s comments were made during a news conference at which he reported full-year earnings.


Port operator DP World reports higher profits on rising volumes

Financial Times (£)

The FT reports on DP World’s 7 per cent increase in profit to $1.2 bn for 2017 and reports on an optimistic forecast for 2018. DP World is quoted as describing the move in Djibouti as “oppressive and cynical.”


Dubai’s DP World to spend more this year after 14.9 percent 2017 profit rise

Nasdaq – Reuters

A similar report by Reuters cites that DP World’s full-year profits rose 14.9 percent in 2017, and the operator plans on spending $1.4 billion on capital expenditure this year. According to Chairman bin Sulayem, “As we look ahead into 2018, geopolitical headwinds in some regions pose a challenge but we expect to continue to grow ahead of the market and see increased contributions from our recent investments.” In conclusion, reference is made to Djibouti announcing its ending of DP World’s contract with regard to Doraleh.


Africa: China’s Military Footprint Grows Alongside Economic Interests in Africa


Referencing the Voice of America, AllAfrica has posted an analysis piece that focuses on Chinese expansion in Africa, and its growing willingness to take direct military action. According to David Lampton, director of China Studies at Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies, China’s maritime presence it now ‘arguably the world’s strongest.’ Regarding Djibouti, it is said that development aid has come with a cost as ‘large infrastructure projects may trigger exclusive access rights if countries struggle to pay back their loans.’ The trajectory of Chinese expansion is however largely a source of disagreement among experts.


Ethiopia hails economic importance of Chinese-built Ethiopia-Djibouti railway


According to Xinhua, the Ethiopia-Djibouti Standard Gauge Rail Transport share-company has commended the first two months of operations of the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway. Director Tilahun Kassa has said the railway has shown ‘early achievement’ and is expected to enhance Ethiopia’s international export business and trading.


Ethiopie-Djibouti: le retour du “train du Negus”

[Ethiopia-Djibouti: the return of the Negus train]


RFI has posted a 20 minute long audio clip in French on the railway between Ethiopia and Djibouti. Reporting is focused on informing listeners to details regarding the project, such as the route and timeline, as well as interviewing travelers and individuals involved in the project. Commentary also features Chinese influence on the project, as well as reporting specifically on Djibouti, citing the importance of Doraleh to both countries.


Somalie: Le parlement rejette un accord sur le port de Berbera au Somaliland

[Somalia: Parliament rejects the agreement over the Berbera port in Somaliland]

Le Maghreb

Moroccan outlet Le Maghreb also reports on Somalia’s rejection of the agreement over the Berbera port between Somaliland, Ethiopia and DP World, citing also the recent dispute over Doraleh involving DP World.


La Chine veut-elle être un modèle alternative?

[Does China want to be the alternative model?]

Ouest France

An opinion piece in Ouest France discusses China’s new geopolitical agenda. The opening of its military base in Djibouti is cited as a signal of strength and case in point regarding its intention to place itself at the center of the geopolitical game.


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