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Archive for the tag “Horn of Africa”

Djibouti: World Bank Approves $6 Million to Ensure Refugees and Host Communities Access Healthcare Services (03.05.2019)

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2019—The World Bank today announced an additional US$6 million additional financing for the continuation of its Improving Health Sector Performance Project in Djibouti. Since its approval in April 2013, 143,000 women and children have received essential health, nutrition and population services in Djibouti. The program has supported improvements in access to quality health care services for maternal and child health and communicable disease control programs (HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis). The additional financing will allow the program to continue serving all of Djibouti, including refugee populations.

The additional financing includes US$1 million in International Development Association (IDA) credit, the World Bank’s arm for the poorest countries, and a US$5 million grant from the IDA18 Sub-Window for Refugees and Host Communities. Djibouti is one of 14 countries eligible to access this financing. The IDA18 Sub-Window for Refugees and Host Communities was created in response to demands from refugee-hosting countries, like Djibouti, as a mechanism for development assistance and concessional financing from the WBG.

“The Government of Djibouti has been committed to addressing the increasing health needs of refugees and host communities,” said Atou Seck, World Bank Resident Representative in Djibouti. “The capacity of health centers throughout Djibouti is under severe strain. In certain communities in Djibouti, displaced populations including refugees make up to 40% of the health service users.”

The new financing will support the Government of Djibouti’s efforts to mitigate the negative health impacts of the protracted refugee crisis and ensure that refugees and host communities have access to quality and equitable health services. The project is implemented by the Ministry of Health.

This is the second additional financing to the project. The first additional financing came in the form of a grant US$7 million from the Health Results and Innovation Trust Fund. The original project, approved in April 2013, was a five-year results-based financing project funded by a US$7 million IDA credit. The program is performance-based, whereby funds are disbursed directly to health care providers based on the number and quality of services delivered. The aim of this design is to encourage healthcare service providers to improve child health services such as immunization, management of childhood illnesses, and treatment of malnutrition. In addition, there is a focus on maternal health services such as prenatal care, family planning, and skilled birth attendance. “With six years of experience with the results based financing in Djibouti we have seen a marked increase in the utilization of maternal and child health services. The increased autonomy of health facilities has led to improved health worker performance and an overall increase in the quantity and quality of health services,” said Elizabeth Mziray, World Bank Task Team Leader for the program. “With the additional financing, the support will extend to reach more vulnerable populations and those most in need.”

The large influx of refugees from neighboring countries into Djibouti and the protracted humanitarian crisis have strained an already fragile health system and have further stretched the limited capacity of the health system to provide basic health and nutrition services. The limited coverage of health services and the absence of essential nutrition and water and sanitation facilities have increased the risk of disease outbreaks.

Contacts

Ghanimah AlOtaibi
202-458-8406
galotaibi@worldbank.org

Kadar Mouhoumed Omar
+253-21 35-1090
kmouhoumedomar@worldbank.org

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Opinion: PM Abiy over-ambitious One-Party Suggestion!

In Addis Ababa, there must be several of the loyalist in and around Prime Minister Ahmed Ali Abiy has come out with statement and wish for all parties of the Coalition of Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Force(EPRDF), which is a political coalition made out of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), Amhara Democratic Party (ADP) and the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM). All of these are working together, even if the Woyane or the TPLF have had the upper-hand in the coalition. This is well-known and with the OPD at the helm. That has still not stopped.

This is why, the current stalemate and the issues within the Federal Democratic Republic becomes more dire. As the political achievements are put into questions, as the Prime Minister knows how to say the right things, but doesn’t act upon it. What is striking and worrying is the internal battles between the ethnic groups in Ogaden, Oromia, Amhara and so on. That these persists and the state isn’t issuing statements of security or even securing the citizens, whose ending up in cross-fire. Therefore, the ambition of the PM should be to regain peace and prosperity and not just become an initial one-party state.

This seems to be his main goal, to take away the hassle of multi-party coalition in favour of one party rule. As it has seemed like, but he is taking away that to ensure, that he doesn’t have to comply to other forces within the coalition, as they would be directly one organization instead. It is smart, but certainly, the ones finding themselves as minorities will feel squeezed in this.

TPLF Statement:

In its statement, TPLF in no uncertain terms believes, 1) the coming national election must be held as planned, 2) the planned transformation of EPRDF in to a single party is unattainable and makes no sense now when the main four EPRDF members are not seeing eye to eye on many issues, 3) the country is at risk of disintegrating, better late than never to go back to the tested EPRDF way of governing, 4)TPLF is saddened to know the Ethiopia that used to be peacemaker in many other countries is today begging for helping hand to restore its own peace., 5) TPLF is bemused to hear the government is thinking to invite outsiders to keep peace in the country. 6) TPLF call on all peace loving people to join its forthcoming effort to restore law and order and democratic governance in the country!” (TPLF, 12.04.2019)

EPRDF Council Meeting:

Addis Ababa, April 12, 2019 (FBC) –The Council of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) will hold its regular session as of next Monday. According to a statement issued by the Council, the meeting is to discuss current national agendas and evaluate organizational performances of the Front over the past months.” (Fana BC – ’EPRDF Council To Meet Next Monday’ (12.04.2019).

We can even see the power-block, the ruling elite and the greatest obstacle to a one-party movement, instead of coalition is the TPLF. The ones who is known to control and also manipulate it to their advantage. That is why this is a rare moment of history. Where a reforming Prime Minister, someone who tries to make a difference. Failing at it, but still trying within the parameter of his power. As he is one of them and knows the system.

What is striking in the game of trying to forge a one-party political movement. Even as the EPRDF have allowed the Oromo Liberation Front and other former illegal opposition movements to partly operate. They are still not viable in the political spectrum. So, before the next election to make the Coalition into ONE-PARTY, would in some spheres ensure a one-party state. As the others cannot compete or have the ability to be seen. Since, they are minor players and the ERPDF have the whole state machinery behind them.

That is why I am shocked that the TPLF doesn’t want to do this. It would be a WIN-WIN, though the TPLF emblem and superiority would be a fraction of the party and not an separate controlling entity. That is maybe their fear of becoming second fiddle and losing their codes of conduct. Therefore, they cannot muster support for a One-Party vision.

This is good for Ethiopia to have more parties, more people possible representing them. That should not be on ethnic lines, because that is just stirring pot of trouble. A kettle already boiling and internal conflicts spiralling out of control. That is why the Republic is faced with a million internally displaced people. This should be a warning to the authorities, that their policies and their vision is distorted, as so many people are struggling to live in their homes and in their homestead.

Surely, the TPLF and the Woyane want all control. That is not new, the ODP trying to get more balance of power, as well as possibly the others in the coalition. However, this might just be another play for the facade, just to look like the coalition is moving somewhere. As the EPRDF have been more cautious about peace missions in the region, than securing the internal conflicts. This should be the priority. To ensure the villages, the homes and the lives of citizens who are endangered and with security organizations not shielding their homes and lives. However, that is second fiddle in the battle of power in Addis, which is apparently, more important than changing the lives of ordinary citizens. Peace.

As internally displaced persons reach nearly 1 million in Ethiopia, WHO reinforces medical supplies (09.04.2019)

An estimated 995 559 individuals were displaced by inter-communal clashes across the Gedeo and West Guji zones in February and March.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 9, 2019 – The World Health Organization (WHO) in Ethiopia has dispatched experts and medical supplies in response to the needs of the internally displaced persons in the Gedeo and West Guji zones in Oromia Region and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR).

According to official government reports, an estimated 995 559 individuals were displaced by inter-communal clashes across the Gedeo and West Guji zones in February and March. The Government of Ethiopia appealed in mid-March for support from partners in response to the escalating situation.

In response, WHO sent emergency health kits capable of treating 115 000 people for three months, along with supplementary kits containing medical supplies (gloves, needles, syringes) and drugs for 70 000 people for three months. WHO has also provided kits for treating 250 severe acute malnourished children with medical complications for three months.

The supplies were delivered to Gedeo Zone ahead of an assessment team led by WHO Representative to Ethiopia, Dr Rufaro Chatora, who visited the region to assess the situation. He met with health officials to discuss priority areas for WHO support for the immediate health needs of around 675 737 internally displaced persons scattered in different locations in the zone.

“This is a complex humanitarian situation, and WHO has deployed additional capacity of experts to the zones to support the response to the health needs of the displaced and the host communities,” said Dr Chatora. “The response is commendable, but the need is huge and requires the coordinated and rapid response of WHO and other partners.”

The assessment team visited two temporary displaced persons camps in Gedeb woreda (district) and the Gedeb Hospital, where a stabilization centre has been expanded to accommodate the massive increase in cases of severe acute malnutrition. WHO is training 34 health workers in the management of children with severe acute malnutrition with medical complications.

Among the immediate needs in the temporary camps are improvements to the living conditions, access to safe water and sanitation and an immunization campaign (as well in the host communities) to avoid disease outbreaks.

“WHO will coordinate with the Federal Ministry of Health, United Nations agencies, international organizations, NGOs and other partners to strengthen the response, particularly in regard to water, sanitation and hygiene and the vaccination campaigns,” Dr Chatora said.

The Government has deployed 117 health professionals, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, psychiatrists and epidemiologists, to help alleviate the human resource gap in the response. More staff will be deployed in the coming weeks.

The WHO response team based in Gedeo and West Guji zones will be increased in the coming days to provide continued technical support to the government-led inter-agency rapid response for surveillance and early warning disease outbreak, water-quality assessments, environmental audits, case management and coordination.

London Tribunal rules that Djibouti has breached Doraleh Container Terminal’s rights (04.04.2019)

Tribunal orders Djibouti to pay DCT $385 million plus interest for breach of Doraleh Container Terminal SA (DCT)’s exclusivity.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, April 4, 2019 –  Doraleh Container Terminal SA (DCT), a Djibouti port operator owned 33.34% by DP World Group, and 66.66% by Port de Djibouti S.A., an entity of the Republic of Djibouti, has been successful in the London Court of International Arbitration proceeding against the Republic of Djibouti. The Tribunal has found that by developing new container port opportunities with China Merchants Holdings International Co Limited (China Merchants), a Hong-Kong based port operator, Djibouti has breached DCT’s rights under its 2006 Concession Agreement to develop a container terminal at Doraleh, in Djibouti, specifically, its exclusivity over all container handling facilities in the territory of Djibouti.

The Tribunal ordered Djibouti to pay DCT $385 million plus interest for breach of DCT’s exclusivity by development of container facilities at Doraleh Multipurpose Terminal, with further damages possible if Djibouti develops a planned Doraleh International Container Terminal (DICT) with any other operator without the consent of DP World. The Tribunal found that “In respect of the development of the Djibouti Multipurpose Port (DMP) facility, the facts are clear. At no stage before the decision was made to go ahead with that facility with China Merchants did … Djibouti … offer … DCT … the right to develop the proposed container facilities at the DMP. Djibouti was therefore in breach of clause 3.6.3 of the [Concession Agreement]”. China Merchants also operates a $3.5 billion free trade zone it developed pursuant to an agreement with Djibouti, in contravention of DP World’s exclusive right to develop and operate such a free zone under its own concession, which is the subject of other litigation proceedings.

The Tribunal also ordered Djibouti to pay DCT $148 million for historic non-payment of royalties for container traffic not transferred to DCT once it became operational. Djibouti is also ordered to pay DCT’s legal costs.

The Tribunal’s Award recognises that the 2006 Concession Agreement remains valid and binding, as has also been confirmed by another LCIA arbitration tribunal and the London courts. This is the fifth substantial ruling in DCT and DP World’s favour on disputes relating to the Doraleh terminal. DCT and DP World continue to seek to uphold their legal rights in a number of legal fora, following Djibouti’s unlawful efforts to expel DP World from Djibouti and transfer the port operation to Chinese interests. Litigation against China Merchants also continues before the Hong Kong courts. DP World has previously issued public notices, following the confirmation of the validity of the 2006 Concession Agreement in a judgment in 2018, warning others against interfering with its and DCT’s concession rights.

Ethiopia: Is there a brewing Internal-Conflict with a fake Messiah at the steering-wheel?

The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve. This is true even of the pious brethren who carry the gospel to foreign parts.”H.L. Mencken

It looked so hopeful, when Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali took over a year ago. The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Force (EPRDF) coalition government, which have had sole control from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the other parties been controlled and manoeuvred on their behest. Therefore, people where hopeful when a Oromo leader would take the wheel. However, things has gotten worse. Some things has changed for the better, but there are many worrying signs on the horizons. The sun is setting and the next day looks tense.

The Prime Minister wasn’t taken over something finished, something that was strong. He came in the midst of a oppressive regime, using the army against civilians and using draconian laws to keep people under their wings. The EPRDF have arrested so many because of their political affiliation or their activism. Now, the EPRDF is struggling with the newly released former political opposition and legality of Queero, Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). As the Oromo youth have gone house-to-house, the army and others has done direct assaults and killed within the Ogaden region. Like there been violence happening between other ethnic groups to in other parts of Ethiopia. While the government let it happen and doesn’t stop it.

That is why the situation is getting worse. The Internally Displaced People in about 800 sites in the Federal Republic.

There are several other issues like this from OCHA:

The lives of 8 million food insecure people will be at risk if food assistance does not reach them in time. Additionally, the number people in need of emergency food assistance activities will continue to grow” (OCHA – ‘Ethiopia: If funding remains insufficient, most life-saving operations will cease beyond March’ 07.03.2019).

So there are millions who are struggling to eat, there millions struggling with a place to stay and has been forcefully evicted from their homes. This has escalated under the time of EPRDF and Prime Minister Abiy. That is well known, as the EU have offered assistance because of this.

As stated here from the EU:

Ethiopia is undergoing sweeping reforms, but the winds of democracy and new-found freedoms have also fanned ethnic tensions, very often boiling over into an all-out conflict. In 2018, conflict resulted in an exponential increase in the number of internally displaced to more than 3 million people, one of the fastest growing displacement crises in the world. EU Humanitarian Aid, once focused on helping refugees and Ethiopians uprooted by drought and food shortages, is now increasingly needed to help Ethiopians displaced by violence in hundreds of sites across the country” (European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations – ‘Helping people displaced by ethnic violence in Ethiopia’ 28.03.2019).

Even though the state will make everything look like a golden era:

A discussion forum reviewing the one-year journey of reforms held at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) hall today. The event, which is a continuation of the political party forums of the past few months, explored the political, economic, foreign relations, justice and security sector changes undertaken during the past one year. During the discussion, it was indicated that 45,000 people have benefited from the amnesty law at the federal level. Moreover, over 100,000 prisoners were released at a national level following the reform initiative” (FanaBC – ‘Forum Reviews Ethiopia’s One-Year Journey Of Reforms’ 30.03.2019).

As that was happening, the same state saluting itself, did this:

A press conference called by Ethiopian journalist and activist Eskinder Nega in Addis Ababa blocked by police. The police officers were unable to give reasons, but told people to disperse, later they said the order came from high up” (ECADF – ‘Ethiopian government blocked activists press conference’ 30.03.2019).

So, even though surely, Prime Minister Abiy has done a lot of good. His still showed lack of progress, concerning the ethnic violence, the lack of food insecurity and the issues of the state. Which is supposed to help all citizens. There are regions and groups taking advantage of their new role in government. This being Oromo whose using force in the Ogaden, where the Somali are attacked and killed. That has been reported and this sorts of violence have grown during his term. Therefore, there has to be a striking need to address and settle this, before it boils over.

We can see, there other worrying signs too. There are lack of coherent and strong message from the Addis Ababa. Who are busy playing international peacemaker, while internally brewing chaos. Where the TPLF are toying with the other groups. Where there are questionable actions, as the state isn’t issuing needed reforms to make peace with all of them whose been hurt. This is happening, as the state is preparing for new elections in 2020. That will surely be shambolic as in the past. As the EPRDF plans to totally control it and force people to vote for them. Something else, would be a revolution. That revolution would not be televised.

Even the hardcore Tigrai is tired of him after a year, as stated here:

Now the masters of Abiy Ahmed are not sure if they picked the right person to lead their silent coup in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian population is disappointedly aware about the true identity and intent of Abiy Ahmed in Ethiopia. A massive tide against Abiy Ahmed is gathering in every corner of Ethiopia. Abiy Ahmed Ali is stuck between a rock and hard place so he is changing his tactics on dealing with the people of Tigrai and the Tigrai state government. Mind you the strategy of Abiy Ahmed and his masters is still the same, it is to systematically weaken and destroy TPLF and Tigrai, but their tactics so far backfired and their plan is in disarray. The new plan is to appear gentle and friendly towards TPLF and Tigrai instead of the harsh treatment they used until now. At the same time they are planning to manipulate any political differences among Tigraians and use them to create gaps between Tegaru” (Tigrai Online – ‘Abiy Ahmed Ali and his masters are changing tactics towards Tigrai’ 26.03.2019).

We can see that the PM is losing ground. That his in trouble. His not trusted by the ones whose the major benefactor of the coalition. Neither, trusted by others either. His seen as puppet from both sides. While playing big-time abroad in Somalia and with Eritrea. We have to see how this goes. But there are many question left unturned.

There are plenty more of hardships, needed efforts and finding peace between dozens of communities. As the state are having more and more people displaced. More and more people lacking food, while the state is trying to look as striving. This is a miss match of ideals and the image the state tries to portray for the world to see. We have to question this, I don’t have the answers. But certainly, the EPRDF have figure this out. They cannot live on PR Stunts and fancy speeches amidst of the internal conflicts and the lack of systems, which is not taking care of their own. Therefore, the EPRDF is waiting for the international community to sponsor and aid these people, by the default of the state is left behind. Peace.

Ethiopia: OPM – Government Support to Displaced Gedeo (16.03.2019)

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.

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)

Ethio Telecom: Statement to Correct Misleading Information on International Internet Gateway Capacity (11.02.2019)

Ethiopia: ONLF Press Release (23.01.2019)

The Somali people in the Somali regional state(Ogaden) have a legal right to manage their political affairs and full self-rule upheld both by the Ethiopian constitution and international law. The most fundamental tenet of these entitlements is the right to choose their own leaders. Furthermore, Premier Abiy has promised to all peoples in Ethiopia to respect their democratic rights and open the political space.

ONLF calls for both the ruling party and the federal government to respect the wishes and dignity of the Somali people and desist from any acts that could jeopardise the stability and the wellbeing of the Somali regional state and the people.

Any political differences shall be resolved in a transparent manners where all stakeholders are consulted.

ONLF is committed to peace and democratic governance in the Somali state and Ethiopia in general and calls upon all stakeholders to adhere to the same principles.

Finally, ONLF calls upon the ruling party in the Somali state to resolve any difference internally in an amicable and transparent manner.

ONLF

23/01/2019

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