MinBane

I write what I like.

Archive for the tag “Djibouti”

Ethiopia and Djibouti’s renewed resolve for cooperation and economic integration (18.02.2019)

The 15th Djibouti-Ethiopian Joint Ministerial Commission meeting was held at the end of last month (January 30-31) in Djibouti.

LONDON, United Kingdom, February 18, 2019 –  The meeting was held in a spirit of brotherhood that reflected the excellent relations between the two countries. At the same time, it also provided a unique platform for both countries, to serve as a venue for the determination of both governments to demonstrate a renewed resolution to continue to play a pivotal role in the progress of the Horn of Africa and of Africa. Both governments are, after all, engaged in a process of reform aimed, inter alia, to encourage their nationals to engage fully and practically in the creation of employment opportunity for youth, expand the structures of democracy, buttress ongoing economic progress, and respect the rights of the people.

This Joint Ministerial Commission meeting was an opportune occasion to showcase the renewed commitment of both countries to resolve all pressing issues, and underline their determination to work closely together on peace and stability in the region and to support economic development and regional integration.

The Ethiopian side commended the Government of Djibouti for taking steps to improve relations with Eritrea. Djibouti appreciated Prime Minister Dr Abiy’s bold moves to encourage tranquility in the region. The initiatives for peace provided a firm jumping off point to encourage youth to participate in the current wind of hope, change and confidence. The agreements reached clearly demonstrated the deep-seated commitment of both governments to encourage prosperity of their peoples. They included bolstering cooperation on criminal matters, formulating plans for ensuring regular, safe and orderly migration on the basis of the spirit of the Marrakech Agreement, and producing a new comprehensive agreement on labor issues, as well as enhancing existing cooperation on peace and security issues bilaterally and within the frame work of IGAD, the African Union and the United Nations.

The Joint Ministerial Commission in fact provided an important venue to underline the need to work closely together to revive the economy of areas that shared a common border and improve the conditions and ways of life of the populations on both sides of the border. There was strong awareness that this would give further impetus towards reinforcing already deep-rooted people-to-people ties. Similarly, aiming to further concretize the ties, a new level of cooperation was reached to exchange instructors and youth experts in such areas of logistics and transport, forestry, engineering, and language teaching.

The second distinctive feature of the Joint Ministerial Commission meeting was that it served as a venue to navigate the future of this symbolic cooperation and make clear the way forward for moving towards the dream of the “Africa we want in 2063.” Important milestones like the Continental Free Trade Area brokered by the African Union and signed up to by 44 of its 55 member states, in Kigali last year, can best be materialized if meaningful efforts are undertaken at regional level. Allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent are prerequisites to African unity. This was clearly shown by Ethiopia and Djibouti, both signatories to the CFTA, in expediting implementation of their bilateral Border Trade Protocol and General Trade Agreement at the JMC meeting.

Both sides have scaled up the gains achieved in port operation and transportation. They have made great efforts to remove impediments to enhance the efficiency of the port and ensure effective utilization of transport links. Enhancement of the quality of operations as well as completing interconnection projects, and initiating new phases of railway projects to augment integration, were discussed in detail. Joint mechanisms have been put in place. Both sides agreed that completion of infrastructure projects was essential to fast-tracking economic integration. They agreed to work to launch the natural gas pipeline project by fast-tracking technical issues.

Overall, the 15th Djibouti-Ethiopia Joint Ministerial Commission meeting clearly provided the opportunity for an important dialogue and a realistic working platform to further speed up the pace of cooperation and economic integration. It called for credible steps to resolve any outstanding issues, agreeing to implement solutions to encourage the continued upward spiral of economic links and joint peace and stability. It emphasized the need to forge closer follow-up of agreements, and to hone capacity to manage the systems underpinning prosperity and security. The meeting strongly underlined the value of holding bilateral dialogues regularly to encourage the advancement of the joint common agenda for the greater common good.

Advertisements

Legal battle for control of Djibouti Ports comes to Hong Kong (13.02.2019)

China Merchants Port Holdings controls the controversial 1,150-hectare Port of Hambantota, which Sri Lanka handed over to China on a 99-year lease.

HONG KONG, China, February 13, 2019 – One of the world’s largest port operators has sued a Chinese state enterprise in Hong Kong over infringement of its exclusive port agreement with a strategically located African nation, in the city’s first court case involving China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

FactWire (www.FactWire.org) has obtained a legal filing by United Arab Emirates’ DP World (FRA: 3DW) at the Hong Kong High Court against China Merchants Port Holdings Company Ltd (HKEX 0144), accusing it of causing the Djibouti government to revoke the firm’s exclusive right to run the country’s ports.

Hong Kong-based China Merchants Port Holdings, a subsidiary of state enterprise China Merchants Group, deals mainly in the construction of ports, marine container logistics and operating container terminals.

It has actively participated in large-scale port infrastructure projects in multiple countries under China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative in recent years.

China Merchants Port Holdings controls the controversial 1,150-hectare Port of Hambantota, which Sri Lanka handed over to China on a 99-year lease.

Its inroads into Djibouti, located strategically between the Arabian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, has for years been at the centre of legal disputes between the African nation and the UAE state enterprise.

In the writ of summons filed to the Hong Kong court in August last year, DP World accused the company for causing the Djibouti government to nationalise the Doraleh Container Terminal, despite the 30-year concession agreement that allowed DP World to exclusively run the terminal.

DP World, which operates 78 ports in 42 countries including Terminal 3 in Kwai Chung, Hong Kong, said under its agreement with the Djibouti government, it would have “full and exclusive right to establish, develop, and operate the Doraleh site”.

The concession agreement also said Djiboutian authorities cannot grant concessions for any other port capable of handling ocean-going vessels or free zone facilities within the country for the duration of the agreement.

The concession agreement took effect in February 2004 for a period of 30 years with the option for two 10-year renewals.

Joint-venture company Doraleh Container Terminal S.A. (DCT) was created to develop and operate the terminal.

The Djibouti government held 66.66 percent of DCT’s shares under state enterprise Port Autonome International de Djibouti (PAID), while DP World held 33.34 percent through its subsidiary Dubai (International) Djibouti FZE (DID).

Despite being a minority shareholder, DP World had the right to appoint most board members of DCT, thereby retaining control of the company’s operations and management.

Two years later, both parties signed a 2006 Concession Agreement in which DID relinquished their role in the development of the Doraleh Container Terminal.

However, DID’s exclusivity right over other port and free zone projects remained in full force.

Economic hindrance

Doraleh Container Terminal commenced operations on February 2009 but the Djibouti government began expressing dissatisfaction with its agreement with DP World.

It said the concession agreement “gave a foreign company the opportunity to oppose the fundamental interests of the Republic of Djibouti by hindering its economic and social development process”.

Three years later in 2012, China Merchants Port Holdings began negotiating a partnership with Djiboutian authorities over the development of ports and free-trade zone projects in the nation. In July that year, they signed a strategic partnership agreement.

The Chinese firm is a direct competitor of DP World and was actively looking to invest in ports to strengthen its position in East Africa.

Djiboutian authorities sold 23.5 percent of its shares in DCT to China Merchants Port Holdings, effectively allowing the Chinese firm to hold 15.67 percent of the shares, contradicting the concession agreement, the legal filing said.

With China Merchants Port Holdings acquiring an indirect shareholding in DCT, Djibouti was bypassing its contractual obligations and implementing its partnership with the Chinese firm, the filing said.

In 2014, China Merchants Port Holdings and Djibouti decided to build Doraleh Multipurpose Port next to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Support Base in Djibouti.

Chinese firms China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd and China State Construction Engineering Corporation began construction on the multipurpose port in the same year.

Operations at this port began in mid-2017, also in contradiction of the agreement between Djibouti and DP World, the UAE firm said.

At the multipurpose port’s launching ceremony, the Djibouti government signed a deal with China Merchants Port Holdings to build a new Doraleh International Container Terminal, to be located between the Doraleh Container Terminal and the multipurpose port.

New Shekou

According to the official Belt and Road Initiative website, the then Executive Director and Vice Chairman of China Merchants Port Holdings Hu Jianhua suggested plans to build a new port to Djibouti president Ismail Omar Guelleh in 2013.

Hu’s proposal was to build a new Shekou, part of the China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone, complete with a new port, a free trade area and to transform an old port terminal into a business and residential centre.

The website said China Merchants Port Holdings invited Guelleh and other Djibouti stakeholders to inspect the “thriving” Shekou port. It said by learning about the history of Shekou, Djibouti will decide to cooperate with China Merchants.

According to DP World’s legal filing, Djibouti attempted to revoke DP World’s exclusive agreement by using allegations of corruption, while it developed its partnership with China Merchants Port Holdings on various projects.

In 2012, Djibouti sued Abdourahman Boreh, a former presidential confidante who was involved in the negotiation and execution of the agreement between DP World and Djibouti, for corruption at the High Court of England and Wales. The case was thrown out.

Djibouti again sued Boreh in 2017 at the London Court of International Arbitration for bribery and those charges were again dismissed. The court found no corruption was involved.

Nevertheless, Djiboutian authorities seized control of the Doraleh Container Terminal on February 22, 2018 and transferred concession staff and assets to Societe de Gestion du Terminal (SGTD), a public company created to manage the terminal.

“SGTD, whose sole shareholder is the State of Djibouti, has successfully taken over the operations of the Doraleh container terminal,” the Djibouti government had said in a press release, which highlighted the unfairness of its concession agreement with DP World.

“The implementation of this concession agreement was severely prejudicial to the fundamental interests of the Republic of Djibouti, to the development of the country and to the control of its most strategic infrastructure asset.”

DP World in February last year sued Djibouti at the London Court of International Arbitration over the takeover of the terminal.

Seven months later, the court ruled in favour of DP World and stated that its agreement with Djiboutian authorities is still valid and binding.

DP World, China Merchants Port Holdings and Djiboutian authorities did not respond to FactWire’s questions.

Strategic placement

An International Monetary Fund report said Djibouti’s external public debt to GDP ratio has already reached 85 percent.

At the end of 2016, 32 percent of this debt was owed by the central government. Sixty-eight percent consisted of government-guaranteed debt of public enterprises, 77 percent of which was owed to China’s EximBank, which is directly under China’s State Council.

In other words, the debt that Djibouti owes China is about 44 percent of its GDP.

Located on the Horn of Africa, Djibouti’s strategic location by the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, which acts as a gateway between the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea and the adjacent Suez Canal, makes it a desirable location for foreign military bases.

China’s first overseas military base was set up there in 2017.

The US established their base in Djibouti following the attacks on Sept 11, 2001.

It is also home to French and Japanese military bases.

Read More Here: factwire.org/single-post/2019/02/10/Legal-battle-for-control-of-Djibouti-ports-comes-to-Hong-Kong (https://bit.ly/2E2ecns)

Video: https://www.facebook.com/factwireworld/videos/2306575722708744/ (https://bit.ly/2S0TjwR)

Djibouti: Communique de presse de la LDDH historique (05.01.2019)

Opinion: You don’t lose $42m, you spend it!

“Our young people think about nothing more than love affairs and pleasure. They spend more time attempting to seduce and dishonor young women than in thinking about their country’s welfare. Our women, in order to take care of the house and family of God, forget their own. Our men limit their activities to vice and their heroics to shameful acts. Children wake up in a fog of routine, adolescents live out their best years without ideals, and their elders are sterile, and only serve to corrupt our young people by their example.”José Rizal, Noli Me Tángere

Pardon my French, but no sane person or collective, even organizations and governments really lose millions upon millions of dollars. They are spending it and hiding the recites. It is that simple. It isn’t like a pseudo-science or science fiction for that matter. It is just blatant misuse of funds and trying to covering up the tracks that are left behind. Because, suddenly without any effort, the money just vanish.

I understand when people are losing small change, some shillings, some notes of a certain value. Nevertheless, not in the millions. Neither the sudden lack of effort of not explaining how it went. Because this amounts of money doesn’t evaporate or go bad as old food. It is cash money and when it is gone, it is because it is spent on something.

“The Somalia Parliamentary Committee on Finance and Budget has released a new statement alleging mismanagement of funds at the Ministry of Finance. In the report, it was revealed that about $42M is unaccounted for and the Finance Ministry headed by Minister Abdirahman Beilleh, has not been able to provide any reason or explanation on how the funds ‘disappeared’. Of the funds unaccounted for is $20 million which is part of a $50 million budgetary support from Saudi Arabia granted to the Somalia government in the year 2017 According to the report the funds have not been indicated in the 2018 budget” (Hiiraan Online – ‘$42M Missing from Somalia’s Ministry of Finance Accounts’ 22.11.2018).

This stories are getting old on me, the knowledge that the ones on high, the ones above the Ministry of Finance. Most likely knows the deals and arrangements, but they are untouchable, they have traded these funds and siphoned them to their side-projects or even side-dishes for that matter. Who knows, if they have entities abroad outside Mogadishu and Somalia. They might have investments in Kampala, Addis Ababa or even Nairobi.

This money can flied anywhere and to anyone. As the Ministry of Finance has no proof, no bill or no transactions paper to protocol the spending. That is lax financial control and should make both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB), very very proud!

However, this is a proof of how the Villa Somalia is spending money like there is no tomorrow. Surely, the President Farmaajo and Prime Minister Kheire knows where these funds has gone. However, hey will not confess. They will not drop an LP like Usher with their confessions and tell their stories of cheating. Even if it would have been healthy, because their recordings are valued about $42m USD, I am no fat-cat, but that is good money. You can buy a lot of property and own big-businesses with that sort of cash-flow. No doubt. Peace.

Somalia: “Re: Bid Rounds, new contracts (PSA) and legacy petroleum contracts – the way forward for the national interest of Somalia” (18.11.2018)

Eritrea: Statement Delivered by Mr. Amanuel Giorgio, Charge d’Affaires, Permanent Mission of Eritrea to the United Nations During the UN Security Council Discussion on the Situation in Somalia (14.11.2018)

Djibouti: H.E. Mr. Mohamed Siad Doualeh Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Djibouti to the United Nations before the Security Council on the situation in Somalia (14.11.2018)

Somalia: A Joint Statement by Southwest Scholars, and Civil Society Leaders Regarding Direct Meddling in the Southwest State Electoral Process (07.11.2018)

UN mission calls for consensus on credible and peaceful presidential election in Somalia’s South West State (07.11.2018)

The events unfolding in the last few days, including the divisions among the stakeholders, ahead of the upcoming presidential election in Somalia’s South West State, have the potential to lead to violence. The United Nations Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) calls on all parties and stakeholders to work together to ensure that this Somali-owned electoral process proceeds in accordance with the established rules and avoids any behaviour which may lead to conflict or undermine the integrity of the electoral process.

“With this election being the first in a series to be held around the country – both at the regional level next year and national level in 2020 – there is a real need to set the precedent for credible and peaceful electoral processes,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Haysom. “I note that Somalia’s international partners had expressed similar hopes and concerns in November 2016 during the country’s federal parliamentary elections, when it called on all stakeholders to collaborate in ensuring a positive outcome.”

“I am confident that, in keeping with their tradition, Somali leaders will find a solution, through dialogue, to the issues surrounding this electoral process. An electoral process that is transparent, enjoys broad consensus on the rules governing its conduct, and is free from irregularities can only promote widespread acceptance of the results, and avoid violent confrontations at or after polling,” added Mr. Haysom, who also serves as UNSOM’s head.

The regional assembly of South West State is due to hold a presidential election on 17 November. Similar votes will take place in the Federal Member States of Puntland and Jubaland in 2019.

UNSOM Condemns Unprovoked Shooting on UN Convoy in Galmudug State (06.11.2018)

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) condemns the obstruction and attack on a convoy of UN vehicles that occurred along the road between the cities of Galkayo and Adaado in Galmudug state on Saturday, 3 November.

The convoy was accompanied by a dozen police officers from South Galkayo in the late afternoon of Saturday when it was stopped some five kilometres outside Adaado at a checkpoint manned by eight men claiming to be police officers. None of the individuals wore police uniforms, but they refused to grant passage to the convoy that was carrying a team of UN personnel assigned to make preparations for an upcoming visit to Dhusamarreb by UN officials.

After the UN officials decided to abort the mission and head back to Galkayo, a truck carrying  militiamen drove through the checkpoint and opened fire on the UN convoy. None of the members of the convoy was injured nor were any of the UN vehicles damaged in the shooting incident.

“Last week’s attack on a UN convoy is unacceptable, and we call on the authorities in Galmudug state and the Federal Government to  hold accountable those militiamen who opened fire on our colleagues. Such an attack has not happened to the UN in Somalia for a very long time.” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Haysom. “United Nations personnel must be granted free passage throughout Somalia at all times. They must be able to implement the mandates of UNSOM and UN agencies, funds and programmes without running the risk of being fired upon for no justifiable reason.”

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: