Development aid

Expert Voices

Despite U.S. concerns, Djibouti may see gains from Chinese finance

Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation on September 3, 2018 in Beijing, China.
Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, in Beijing, on Sept. 3, 2018. Photo: Andy Wong / Pool via Getty Images

In unveiling the Trump administration’s new Africa strategy last month, national security adviser John Bolton cast Chinese financial and military activity in Djibouti as a threat to U.S. interests in the Horn of Africa. He cited concerns about Djibouti's mounting debt burden to China and China's potential to take over a strategically located port, along with its establishment of a military base near U.S. base Camp Lemonnier.

The big picture: Djibouti has enjoyed a four-decade relationship with China, and in the past few years, this relationship has become more instrumental in Djibouti's development. China holds 77% of Djibouti’s debt, largely because of Vision Djibouti 2035, the country's agenda to become a logistics and commercial hub for continental trade and spur medium-term growth of 10% per year.

Expert Voices

Kim's resignation could tee up non-U.S. leadership at World Bank

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim arrives for a news conference at International Monetary Fund Headquarters April 19, 2018 in Washington, DC.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

Jim Yong Kim suddenly stepped down Monday as president of the World Bank, 3 years ahead of the end of his second 5-year term. Kim’s resignation is expected to spark a heated debate over leadership of the World Bank.

The big picture: At issue is whether the presidency should reflect the needs of donors or recipients. While the U.S. candidate has always been picked as president — an informal tradition since the bank's founding in 1944 — the board of directors, made up of donor countries, is likely to challenge a U.S. candidate because of growing opposition to historical U.S. dominance of the institution. Given that Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the largest recipients of bank funds, the timing could be ripe for an African leader.

More stories loading.