Djibouti Cultivating Diverse Economic, Military Partnerships

Djibouti Cultivating Diverse Economic, Military Partnerships
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh after arriving at the Presidential Palace, Djibouti, May 6, 2015 (State Department photo).

China is in negotiations with Djibouti to open a military base in the country, adding to its current roster of French, U.S., Japanese and EU military facilities. In an email interview, David Styan, lecturer in politics at Birkbeck College, University of London and author of the report “Djibouti: Changing Influence in the Horn's Strategic Hub,” discussed Djibouti’s foreign relations.

WPR: Who are Djibouti’s main regional partners?

David Styan: The dominant regional partner is Ethiopia. Djibouti’s small economy is essentially a gateway; the vast majority of Addis Ababa’s fast-growing trade flows transit through Djibouti’s new container and oil terminals. China’s reconstruction of the 460-mile railway to Addis Ababa is almost complete. From 2016, this will further boost trade ties and amplify current flows of foreign direct investment—notably Chinese and Turkish—into both countries.

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