Djibouti's Minister of Economy, Finance and Planning, Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, spoke at Chatham House in London on 11 July 2012. His remarks were surprisingly frank.
He noted that stability in Djibouti "has been achieved mainly thanks to the international community whose presence, especially that of the French army, was a stabilizing factor." He added that Djibouti's stability depends on stability in Somalia. As a result, Djibouti hosts international armies and forces in order to contribute to efforts to combat piracy and terrorism. He pointed out that the United States, Japan, France and European Union all have bases in Djibouti.
Minister Dawaleh said the "conflict in Eritrea has a much bigger potential to destabilize Djibouti and the whole region" than the situation in Somalia. He looks to the day when Djibouti will not have to spend large sums to station a military force along the border with Eritrea so that the money can be used for poverty alleviation.
The Minister acknowledged that unemployment in Djibouti has reached 49 percent and that "this represents a risk for the government." He said economic growth is the top priority of the government.
Click here to read the minister's remarks.