FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Djibouti Faces Dark Days to Come; Eritrean Ports, Pipeline Threaten Ethiopian Trade Lifeline

Djibouti has been landlocked Ethiopia’s only access to the sea and depends of port taxes paid by Ethiopia for most of its income and with the Eritrean ports of Massawa and Assab on the Red Sea about to open finds itself faced with losing most of the Ethiopian trade it has enjoyed a monopoly on for the past twenty years.

For a country of less than a million mostly poverty stricken people the over $1.5 billion a year coming in from unloading cargo for Ethiopia’s almost one hundred million people is almost three quarters of its income and facing competition from Eritrean ports more conveniently located and better yet, tax free, most of the Ethiopian trade will be lost. Why should Ethiopia pay for services from Djibouti when they get Free Ports in Eritrea and can use the money saved to help with their balance of trade deficit? The just announced UAE funded oil pipeline from Assab to Addis Ababa is another nail in Djibouti’s coffin.

To try and diversify its economy Djibouti has taken to offering its services to any and all armies, hosting military bases for the French, its former colonizer, the USA and now China and its 10,000 troops. Even Turkey, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are rumored to be planting their flags in Djibouti soon.

Being right next door to the strategically critical Ba’ab al Mandeb, the “Gate of Tears” straights between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean and a chokepoint for the worlds largest trading partners, Europe and Asia, it is in the “national interests” for any government with imperial ambitions to have a base in Djibouti.

Still, $500 million a year in base rents cannot make up for what could be a 75% loss in Ethiopian trade and port tax revenue. What this will mean to China’s new $3.5 billion railroad running from Djibouti to Ethiopia is a good question, with specters of it becoming a white elephant with little freight to carry and Ethiopia expected to pay what turns out to be an odious loan?

This railroad deal was made with the former TPLF gangster regime ruling Ethiopia since 1991 and was made without consideration taken for peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia breaking out. Now that “Ethiopia’s Peaceful Revolution” has taken root, a railroad between the Eritrean port of Assab and Addis Ababa is what is needed, not the now redundant one built by China under its shortsighted foreign policy. How is debt overloaded and foreign currency strapped Ethiopia supposed to pay for another multi billion dollar loan for a project built by the funding country that is now going to be a money losing operation from the start? Sometimes you really have to question just how well informed the Chinese Foreign Ministry is, with “economics for dummies” desperately needed.

Eritrea has been on a foreign policy offensive, by all appearences successfully directing a “soft coup” in Ethiopia, followed by a reproachment with Somalia with Djibouti next on the list for either another soft coup following the dark days to come or maybe some sort of foreign intervention under the watchful eyes of a few major imperial powers.

As 42-year-old Ethiopian P.M. Abiy Ahmed said, don’t worry about all these problems we Ethiopians face, Eritrea’s “Issias [Aferworki] is leading us”. What he is saying is rest assured a plan is in the works and when it is enacted it will serve the best interests of the almost 200 million people of the Horn of Africa and not those of imperialists large or small. Having spent his whole adult life, over 50 years now, fighting for a real peace based on respect and cooperation between neighbors free of domination and exploitation, Issias today is leading a fundamental change in how the future will be decided here in what has been called Africa’s Horn of Hunger. Hope that we will finally break free from war, famine and chaos here in the Horn of Africa is finally becoming a reality.

More articles by:

Thomas C. Mountain attended Punahou School for six years some half a dozen years before “Barry O’Bombers” time there. He has been living and writing from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain at g_ mail_ dot _com

July 14, 2020
Anthony DiMaggio
Canceling the Cancel Culture: Enriching Discourse or Dumbing it Down?
Patrick Cockburn
Boris Johnson Should not be Making New Global Enemies When His Country is in a Shambles
Frank Joyce
Lift From the Bottom? Yes.
Richard C. Gross
The Crackdown on Foreign Students
Steven Salaita
Should We Cancel “Cancel Culture”?
Paul Street
Sorry, the Chicago Blackhawks Need to Change Their Name and Logo
Jonathan Cook
‘Cancel Culture’ Letter is About Stifling Free Speech, Not Protecting It
John Feffer
The Global Rushmore of Autocrats
C. Douglas Lummis
Pillar of Sand in Okinawa
B. Nimri Aziz
Soft Power: Americans in Its Grip at Home Must Face the Mischief It Wields by BNimri Aziz July 11/2020
Cesar Chelala
What was lost when Ringling Bros. Left the Circus
Dan Bacher
California Regulators Approve 12 New Permits for Chevron to Frack in Kern County
George Wuerthner
Shrinking Wilderness in the Gallatin Range
Lawrence Davidson
Woodrow Wilson’s Racism: the Basis For His Support of Zionism
Binoy Kampmark
Mosques, Museums and Politics: the Fate of Hagia Sophia
Dean Baker
Propaganda on Government Action and Inequality from David Leonhardt
July 13, 2020
Gerald Sussman
The Russiagate Spectacle: Season 2?
Ishmael Reed
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Perry Mason Moment
Jack Rasmus
Why the 3rd Quarter US Economic ‘Rebound’ Will Falter
W. T. Whitney
Oil Comes First in Peru, Not Coronavirus Danger, Not Indigenous Rights
Ralph Nader
The Enduring Case for Demanding Trump’s Resignation
Raghav Kaushik – Arun Gupta
On Coronavirus and the Anti-Police-Brutality Uprising
Deborah James
Digital Trade Rules: a Disastrous New Constitution for the Global Economy Written by and for Big Tech
Howard Lisnoff
Remembering the Nuclear Freeze Movement and Its Futility
Sam Pizzigati
Will the Biden-Sanders Economic Task Force Rattle the Rich?
Allen Baker
Trump’s Stance on Foreign College Students Digs US Economic Hole Even Deeper
Binoy Kampmark
The Coronavirus Seal: Victoria’s Borders Close
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Power, Knowledge and Virtue
Weekend Edition
July 10, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Lynnette Grey Bull
Trump’s Postcard to America From the Shrine of Hypocrisy
Anthony DiMaggio
Free Speech Fantasies: the Harper’s Letter and the Myth of American Liberalism
David Yearsley
Morricone: Maestro of Music and Image
Jeffrey St. Clair
“I Could Live With That”: How the CIA Made Afghanistan Safe for the Opium Trade
Rob Urie
Democracy and the Illusion of Choice
Paul Street
Imperial Blind Spots and a Question for Obama
Vijay Prashad
The U.S. and UK are a Wrecking Ball Crew Against the Pillars of Internationalism
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post and Its Cold War Drums
Richard C. Gross
Trump: Reopen Schools (or Else)
Chris Krupp
Public Lands Under Widespread Attack During Pandemic 
Alda Facio
What Coronavirus Teaches Us About Inequality, Discrimination and the Importance of Caring
Eve Ottenberg
Bounty Tales
Andrew Levine
Silver Linings Ahead?
John Kendall Hawkins
FrankenBob: The Self-Made Dylan
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Deutsche Bank Fined $150 Million for Enabling Jeffrey Epstein; Where’s the Fine Against JPMorgan Chase?
David Rosen
Inequality and the End of the American Dream
Louis Proyect
Harper’s and the Great Cancel Culture Panic
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail