Corporate Council on Africa (Washington, DC)

6 May 2014

Djibouti: President Guelleh Tells Corporate Council 'Djibouti is Open for Business'

The United States secured long term access Monday to a military base in Djibouti that it uses to launch counter-terrorism missions, including drone ... ( Resource: Obama: U.S. Secures 'Long Term' lease on Djibouti base

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Washington, DC — Statement by H.E. Ismail Omar Guelleh President Of The Republic Of Djibouti At A Lunch Hosted By The Corporate Council On Africa

Mr. Stephen Hayes
President of Corporate Council on Africa
Members of Corporate Council on Africa
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you very much Mr. Hayes. I am deeply honored to be hosted by the CCA three times in this decade, all during the Presidency of Mr. Hayes, whose diligence and persistence put this organization on a firm footing.

As you know I am here in Washington following an invitation graciously extended to me by President Barack Obama, whom I and my delegation have had the opportunity to meet this morning. The relations between Djibouti and the U.S. can be described as robust and growing. We have shared interests in regional peace and stability; combating terrorism, extremism and piracy.

We have deepened our partnerships over the years and have coordinated our efforts, to tackle some of the region’s most challenging conflicts. We will continue to stay engaged; while encouraging and promoting US private sector investment in Djibouti, particularly in energy generation. My country is blessed with a large potential of geothermal as well as solar and wind energy. We have already secured some initial funding for all these sources of energy; but it is not adequate. We are therefore seeking reliable and resourceful investors in the field of geothermal energy, which is a top priority for our future needs.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Although at independence we inherited nothing worth mentioning, over the last three decades of existence we have learnt to be resilient and tenacious. We have learnt to thrive and grow while addressing the multifaceted challenges of scarce resources, and the pressing demands of our people. Today, I must say, we are proud of our achievements and confident of our future. We have built an economy whose mainstay are services:--- shipping, transshipment and trade. And, because of our strategic geographical position and our excellent port infrastructure, Djibouti is poised to become a regional gateway to the sea. Within the next couple of years, Djibouti will have, in addition to the existing ones, several specialized ports; and new railways, principally catering to the needs of Ethiopia --- as its gateway to the sea.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Djibouti is open for business. The understanding we have with our economic partners include to improve the business environment and reduce vulnerability; while focusing on energy, urban poverty reduction, education, health, and continuously enhancing the effectiveness of our port infrastructure and facilities.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are delighted that President Obama will meet the leaders of the African continent in August, underscoring the growing strong relationship, embracing economic development, peace and security. In the Horn of Africa, we are deeply saddened by the plunge of South Sudan into unspeakable violence, with the potential of huge food scarcity and economic devastation. Our region is in crucial engagement with the parties concerned to avert further crisis. Somalia has made steady strides over the last one year and we hope commitments made toward its peace and security, reconciliation, and economic development will materialize in due course.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Finally, let me deeply thank once again Mr. Hayes and his membership, and wish to tell them that Djibouti is awaiting their visits as well as their investments.

Thank you all!

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