With the help of its magnanimous, newly found friends of China and Saudi Arabia, besides its older, little-jaded United States and French allies, Djibouti is fast becoming not only a military threat to the continent of Africa, but a ruthless, insatiable glutton that plans to grab the whole economic cake and gobble it down fast.
The Export-Import Bank of China is helping its government take a firm hold of the political and military helm of Djibouti – and through it – the region by investing in more than eight big-money projects in the tiny African country. The construction of a new airport at Bicidley, to the south of Djibouti city, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway and the pipeline to Ethiopia, alone, will cost the bank an investment worth 1.2 billion US Dollars. The military base was estimated at US$590 million.
Besides the above, China is helping Djibouti construct a livestock port in line with President Xiaoping’s Belt and Road drive to connect China with Africa and, mainly, the Middle East for their economic and strategic potential.
And this is happening in a country whose population stands at less than a million, in an area a little over 23 000 square Kilometres.
Djibouti and Saudi Arabia are in the final stages of reaching a deal for Saudi military base to join the half a dozen military presences in the small Africa enclave that commands Bab el Mandab and the Suez Canal on the Red Sea.
Djibouti, however, is not satisfied with the sale of its geographical location to the international highest bidders, but it is actively undermining the political and economic aspirations of other countries in the region such as Eritrea and Somaliland, as it is attempting a stronger position to leverage a firmer grip on Ethiopian economy.
For some time now, Djibouti has been selling sand and silt excavated from rivers and tributaries well into Somaliland territory on the behest, it has been alleged, of China. Large tipper-trucks have been wreaking havoc on an already much-abused environment by steadily trucking sand on dumping grounds at Lawyacaddo on the border between Somaliland and Djibouti for onward transport to the port city.
Mineral deposits, such as gold and emeralds, have been looted from Awdal region by middlemen working for the two co-conspirators, too.
Other truckloads of sheep and cattle have been arriving at the border town, too, since the Saudi Kingdom cast aspersion on Somaliland livestock earlier in the year. It has been proven since then that the so-called Saudi ban was no ban at all but a way to help Djibouti economy and subjugate that of Somaliland.
Borama has become the centre of cattle trade where north of Hargeisa depots have turned to sheep and goats markets. Livestock comes from as far as Beletwein and Eastern Ethiopia.
To illustrate how dead set he is against Somaliland economic and political gains, president Ismail Omar Gheelle of Djibouti made it clear that he has got the upper hand on Berbera port and the whole of Somaliland bu boasting nobody will help Somaliland turn its aspiration to reality through investments. He particularly – and sinisterly – predicted that no country will attempt to build the road that will link Berbera to Ethiopia. The only power, he stated, that can do that was China – and, vis-a-vis, China was on his side.
If Somaliland livestock was faulted healthwise, why did it find favor in Djibouti ports for onward export to Saudi Arabia?
The Somaliland ministries of Finance, Minerals, Trade, Livestock, Defense, Interior and – perhaps – the Presidency itself are clearly involved. There are garrisons upon garrisons of military and coast guards troops littering along the whole western coast of Somaliland, There are innumerable customs stations from here to Lawyacaddo. Livestock is being bought, and sand and silt being loaded in broad light and waved on to the Djibouti border.
Finance, particularly, is quite deliberately misleading the public feeding it inflation misconceptions for reasons that, when discovered and exposed, will go down in history for what they are.
And, yet, the government of Somaliland has been hoodwinking the public by blaming soaring hyperinflation on the wrong parties, as it was feebly issuing meaningless decrees that never addressed the issue sincerely.
Somaliland is reeling under an intolerable economic and health threat posed by a relentless drought. Its main foreign currency earner is taken over by a ruthless, gleeful, greedy broker of a neighbour – Djibouti and its Gheelle. Its government is run by a more ruthless gang that is either so by virtue of their myopic, uncultured grip on politics and the basic mechanics of economics or because of a desire to satiate their collective – and individual – avarice.
Experts predict that inflation will not stop until the US Dollar doubles up against the Somaliland Shilling rate before the upsurge to reach beyond 15000 Shilling to US$1.
Either way, the Somaliland public is the unlamented underdog that will certainly go down under the yoke if drastic measures are not implemented to reverse the downslide to doom.