Ethio-Djibouti water pipeline inaugurated, salt port opens for business

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Ismail Omar Guelleh-president

Ethiopia has started providing drinking water for Djibouti as the trans-boundary water project was inaugurated in the presence of top officials from the two nations.
It is the first time something like this has been done in the region. Groundwater around Ethiopia’s Adi Gala town, Shinile Zone, will be piped 320km to Djibouti’s key towns of Ali-Sabieh, Dikhil, Arta and the capital.
The inauguration ceremony held on June 19, at Ali-Sabieh, 93km southwest of the capital Djibouti and 10 km from the border of Ethiopia, was attended by President Ismail Omar Guelleh and his top officials alongside the Ethiopian Ambassador to Djibouti Shamebo Fitamo, according to a statement from Djibouti.
It took two years for the Chinese company CGCOC to build the water project that was initiated about six years ago. The investment cost USD 329 million and was supported by the Chinese Import Export (EXIM) Bank via a loan.
With an annual average of 200 mm of rain water per year in most parts of its national territory, Djibouti has always been a country in a chronic water stress situation.
Currently Ethiopia and Djibouti are connected by an electric line via Dewele that will have an additional line on the northern border of the two countries, according to Djibouti Ambassador Mohamed Idriss Farah. Djibouti, which is the major international logistics center for Ethiopia is also connected via a 752km modern electrified railway line that replaced a century old railway constructed from Djibouti to Addis Ababa. The two countries will be also connected through a pipeline to export Ethiopian Natural Gas.
Four weeks ago the country opened its biggest ever port, Doraleh Multipurpose Port and last week the Port of Tadjourah joined the logistics business. On June 22 the country has also opened the exclusive port facility that will handle salt exports. Port of Ghoubet located at Ghoubet Lake is a key terminal for the export of salt from the famous Lack Assal, which is one of the few places in the world under sea level.
According to Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority, the project consumed USD 64 million. The facility will be able to accommodate ships up to 100,000 dwt, with the potential capacity of exporting over 5 million tones of salt throughout the world.
Aboubaker Omar Hadi, Chairman of the DPFZA said, “The new port of Ghoubet represents yet another example of the advanced infrastructure and state-of-the-art facilities which are establishing Djibouti as a major logistics platform for Africa. It is also a vital step for our country’s economic diversification, by creating opportunities for the export of Djiboutian salt throughout the world.”
Located 40 kilometers south of the Gulf of Ghoubet, the new port is the second to be launched in the north of the country. It follows the launch of the Port of Tadjourah on 15 June – a facility dedicated to the export of potash from Ethiopia, and it can manage other cargo like RORO.
“Both projects are part of the government’s efforts to develop critical infrastructure in the north, including the redevelopment of regional highways,” stated DPFZA.
Djibouti is celebrating its 40th anniversary of independence and has been busy inaugurating new development projects. The 40th national day that celebrates the independence of Djibouti from France is expected to be warmly celebrated in Djibouti on June 27.The Djibouti Embassy in Ethiopia has also announced that it will celebrate the anniversary on Tuesday June 27 at the Sheraton Addis in the presence of Ethiopian officials and the diplomatic community based in Addis Ababa.