Since taking office in 1999, the outgoing head of state has used the country’s strategic position to develop trade without trying to curb unemployment.
In Djibouti, UMP still exists, and the UMP of the same name as France seems to be firmly anchored at the top of the state. After 22 years in power, its champion, President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, will seek a fifth term on Friday, April 9. The ballots once again indicate that the indestructible tenants of Haramous Palace will win.
Although he must face six other candidates in 2016, the 73-year-old head of state is competing with an opponent, businessman Zakaria Ismaïl Farah. Recently entered the political realm, relatively unknown, the latter is seen as a cover for the regime. The main opponents are in exile, and their formation called for a boycott, some of them united under the banner of the National Rescue Union (USN).
« Djibouti is still a rentier country led by patrons and nepotism regimes”, Pointed out the Horn of Africa expert Sonia Le Gouriellec (Sonia Le Gouriellec). Although dozens of people’s protests have made the movement dazzling, the country has not experienced a frenetic outburst like the protest that broke out in June 2020 to protest the conditions of the confinement of Lieutenant’Air Fouad Youssouf Ali. The soldier had fled to Ethiopia before being extradited. A few months ago, he released a video that made him notorious. In the video, he condemned the discrimination he suffered because of his tribal background. It has been forgotten since then.
“Although the opposition has shown deadly virulence on social networks, there is still a certain sense of boredom on the spot., Observe Sonia Le Gouriellec. The big powers try to buy social peace through some funds and the issuance of “Carter”. [une plante très consommée dans la Corne de l’Afrique et au Yémen, dont les feuilles mâchées ont des effets psychotropes]. However, people have no illusions: when they evoke the beautiful houses being built in the capital, the Djiboutians are talking about “the thieves’ area.” “
This is the paradox of the 23,200 kilometers of territory2 pcs The country has a population of nearly 1 million people: despite its diplomacy and the economic ambitions of the president, the country is still far away from “African Singapore”. Although this activity is maintained in 2020 (-1%), it still appears in 166E It occupies 189th place in human development. Local unemployment affects more than 60% of the population, especially those under the age of 30.
The second president since independence in 1977, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (Ismaïl Omar Guelleh) undeniably took advantage of Djibouti’s superior location, which faces one of the busiest maritime corridors in the world. 1. Located at the junction of the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. No less than five countries have military influence in the country: France is a former colonial power, but the United States, Japan, Italy, and China since 2017. Members of the German and Spanish forces also attended the meeting.
However, the former French territories of Afars and Isas are no longer just a “barracks country.” Since Eritrea’s independence, Ethiopia has been a major sea export destination, and the industrial power of Ethiopia’s large neighboring countries has been attracted by the development of logistics and port infrastructure. Its GDP has increased from 700 million to three times in 15 years. More than one billion US dollars (more than 2.5 billion euros). This growth is reflected in the huge multi-purpose port of Doralai, the rise of free zones, and the construction of the recently constructed desalination plant, which will eventually provide drinking water for 250,000 people.
“The face of Djibouti has changed, Notes Sonia Le Gouriellec. However, due to the desire to stand out from France, and through the use of foreign competitive advantages, the country has once again fallen into dependence on China. “ As in other parts of Africa, the boom in infrastructure has indeed led to huge debts. After the reassessment, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated that Djibouti’s debt accounted for about 70% of GDP at the end of 2019. According to the latest report by the African Development Bank (AfDB), 57% of these loans are held by interests close to Beijing, or nearly $1.2 billion.
Compared with loans provided by countries like Ethiopia, this amount of money is very small, but for a 90% desert country, it is huge, and its resources depend almost entirely on the vitality of trade. However, regional trade has suffered from a health crisis related to Covid-19, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (Abiy Ahmed) broke out in the Tigray region in November. The slowdown has affected port activities.
If the Djibouti authorities stay away from the conflict in Ethiopia, Ismail Omar Guelleh will be frightened by the reconciliation between Addis Ababa and Asmara.The President of Eritrea Isaias Afewerki (Isaias Afewerki) is “poison”, Hassan Gouled Aptidon repeated to him, If Ethiopia considers securing new sea routes, its predecessor was the head of Djibouti, and the port of Assab on the Eritrean coast could become a serious competitor.
Therefore, the President of Djibouti will have a lot of work to do to consolidate his balance sheet at the end of his last term. The Constitution limits the age of presidential candidates to 75, so theoretically, it no longer allows the “IOG” to run for re-election. “One of the challenges in the next five years will be succession, Emphasizes Sonia Le Gouriellec. We talked about his son, the Minister of Economy. For months, I have been talking about the head of the port, a man called “Chinese”. “