More than 95 per cent of Ethiopia’s import and export trade passes through Djibouti port, for which Ethiopian prime minister secured a deal on his visit to Djibouti.

By Argaw Ashine (Business Daily) |

Djibouti has agreed to Ethiopia’s proposal to acquire a share of Djibouti’s port, a deal secured by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on his first foreign visit as Head of State over the weekend.

The agreement comes after Djibouti unilaterally annulled a contract with the United Arab Emirates’ giant Dubai Ports World (DP) two months ago.

Mr Abiy held talks with the host President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh and also addressed the Djibouti parliament.

Ethiopian government spokesman, Ahmed Shide, said the percentage apportioned was yet to be determined by experts after assessing the value and profit margins of the port.

Major firms

Formal agreements will be signed within two months and experts from both countries have been tasked to do the paper work, according to Mr Ahmed.

Ethiopia also agreed to apportion to Djibouti shares in its major firms of their choice, including Ethiopian Airlines. Djibouti also showed an interest in agricultural activities in Ethiopia.

The tiny Horn country has previously been allowed to pump 200 metric cubes of drinking water daily from Ethiopia’s Somali region.

More than 95 per cent of Ethiopia’s import and export trade passes through Djibouti Port.

A serious disagreement erupted between DP-World, the main port administrator, and the Djibouti government last January.

Two private shipping companies, Singapore’s Pacific International Lines (PIL) and France’ Compagnie Maritime d’Affrètement (CMA)- Compagnie Générale Maritime (CMA/CGM), were negotiating with Djibouti to further develop the recently inaugurated Doraleh container terminal, at an estimated $600 million.

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