Dreaming of Singapore

This small state is preparing to become an ‘African Dubai’ thanks to Chinese investments.

For decades, the Republic of Djibouti – a small state with a population of only 900,000 inhabitants – was viewed by foreign powers as merely a remote military outpost facing onto the strategic Gulf of Aden. In fact, the African nation was once a French colony and the location of the former military base of the French Foreign Legion, known as Camp Lemonnier. After gaining independence in 1997, from 2002 onwards, the country allowed the United States to use this military base, which was transformed into an important launch pad for operations in the war against Islamic terrorist groups throughout the entire region of sub-Saharan Africa.

In addition to American military operations against Islamic militant organisations, over the last 14 years the former French Somaliland has also grown in strategic importance due to the rising threat Somali pirates pose to shipping traffic.

This is why there are now approximately 10,000 foreign military personnel deployed in Djibouti. The majority are French and American, working in the international anti-piracy fleet. And it is also worth remembering that there is also an Italian military base less than 10km from the border with Somalia. 

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