On August 1, 2017, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) opened in Djibouti, a former French colony of Eastern Africa, its first outpost overseas. Presented as a logistic support facility rather than a full-fledged military and naval base (1,000 to 2,000 personnel), the PLA presence in this strategic spot is a game changer not only in this part of the world but also globally.
Located next to the Bab el Manded, the strait that controls any southern access to the red sea, Djibouti is of strategic importance not only for China. Since its independence in 1977, it has kept a meaningful albeit diminishing French military presence (1,450 personnel). Since 2002, it also includes a large American military base (4,000). More recently, for anti piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, other militaries, for example the Italians and the Japanese, have set foot in this tiny territory not bigger than Belgium.
There is a close connection between China’s military and economic interests in Djibouti. The first driver of Beijing’s growing interest in this port-city has been Ethiopia’s unprecedented development since the late 1990s. Feeling multiple political affinities with then strongman Meles Zenawi’s regime and willing to enhance its relations with the African Union (AU), the seat of which is located in Addis Ababa, China started to get heavily involved in the Ethiopian economy.
CENTER FOR AFRICAN STUDIES
Center for Africa Studies (AFRAM) which located in Ankara, is an organization facilitating under the administration of African Affairs Council (AFAC). It makes various researches about Africa to enhance economic and cultural bounds between Africa and Turkey. AFRAM’s publishings has been shared with different institutions as they require to obtain.
Africa Observatory is one the publishing of AFRAM and it has been published each two weeks. It has been delivered to different institutions via e-mail.