Can the Trump administration stop China from taking over a key African port?. DP World, Somalia, Jabuuti, Somaliland iyo saameynta loolanka Siyaasadeed ee Gobolka ka  socda (Geopolitics) ee u dhexeeya Mareykanka iyo Shiinaha

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Can the Trump administration stop China from taking over a key African port?. DP World, Somalia, Jabuuti, Somaliland iyo saameynta loolanka Siyaasadeed ee Gobolka ka  socda (Geopolitics) ee u dhexeeya Mareykanka iyo Shiinaha

 March 7 at 6:00 AM

A Djibouti policeman stands guard during the opening ceremony of Dubai-based port operator DP World’s Doraleh container terminal in Djibouti port on Feb. 7, 2009. (Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters)

On his Africa tour this week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will argue the United States is a better partner for Africa than is China, which is rapidly expanding its influence and power in Africa. A key test of that proposition will be whether the Trump administration can prevent the government of Djibouti from handing over its main port to Chinese control.

Ever since the Djiboutian government seized control of the Doraleh Container Terminal from Dubai-based DP World last month, reports are it intends to strike a deal with a Chinese-state-controlled firm to run the facility. On Tuesday, Djibouti signed an agreement to expand the port with a Singaporean company that works with China Merchants Port Holdings Co., which already owns a large stake in the facility.

The port is significant not only because it sits next to China’s only overseas military base but also because it is the main access point for American, French, Italian and Japanese bases in Djibouti and is used — because of its strategic location — by parts of the U.S. military that operate in Africa, the Middle East and beyond.

But Waldhauser testified that the United States hasn’t developed a real strategy for competing with China in Africa and has failed to convince most Africans that a partnership based on American values such as rule of law and open markets is in their best interest. The Trump administration’s National Security Strategy correctly defines the threat of China’s global efforts, but there’s no follow-through.

“We are in the initial stages of trying to at least get ‘Africa’ and ‘China’ in the same sentence,” Waldhauser said.

Part of the problem in Djibouti is that the government, led by longtime president Ismail Omar Guelleh, is widely suspected of gross corruption and stands accused of horrendous human rights violations. Guelleh simply might not be interested in cooperation based on Western values. That has led some to argue that the United States would be better off moving its Africa base to another location, such as the relatively stable and democratic autonomous region of Somaliland.

Waldhauser says the Djibouti location is so strategic, we can’t afford to lose it. If that’s so, the United States must come up with a plan to bring Djibouti back into the fold through real incentives for increased cooperation and real consequences if Guelleh does sell out to Beijing. Read more Can the Trump administration stop China from taking over a key African port?

Source: Washington Post

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