most of Djibouti’s economy relies on Chinese credit. And the Chinese might not have shown as much interest if it hadn’t been for Djibouti’s geostrategic location: About a third of all the world’s shipping steams past this barren land on the northeast edge of Africa en route to and from the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean.
China’s bridgehead here is part of its globe-girding “Belt and Road” initiative, an amalgam of economic strategy, foreign policy, and charm offensive that’s fueled by a torrent of Chinese money and is designed to re-balance global alliances. China Merchants Port Holdings Co., a state-owned corporation, wants to turn Djibouti into “the Shekou of East Africa,” Dawaleh says, referring to the free-trade zone across Shenzhen Bay from Hong Kong.https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/djibouti-needed-help-china-had-money-and-now-us-and-france-are-worried-119040600566_1.html
According to the World Food Programme, 79 percent of Djiboutians live in poverty and 42 percent in extreme poverty. Barely larger than Wales, the nation has a population of about 1 million people. Livestock represents the main livelihood of a third of the population, but the country, whose meager natural resources include salt and gypsum, has to import 90 percent of the food it needs.https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/djibouti-needed-help-china-had-money-and-now-us-and-france-are-worried-119040600566_1.html
China is hardly the only country with a military presence in Djibouti. The U.S. Africa Command is headquartered at Camp Lemonnier, a naval expeditionary facility that’s the only permanent American base in Africa. The Japanese, Italians, and Spanish are also here. The Saudis are planning a base. France has had a foothold since at least 1894; what is now Djibouti was French Somaliland, a colony, until 1977.https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/djibouti-needed-help-china-had-money-and-now-us-and-france-are-worried-119040600566_1.html