While China continues to focus its economic and political power on the continent of Africa, French President Emmanuel Macron visited Djibouti on Tuesday to make sure the former colony does not forget France. Paris is increasingly uneasy about the power of China as it is carrying a check book and big wallet to former French colonies in East and West Africa. Djibouti is strategically located at the southern entrance of the Red Sea near the Suez Canal – an area that China now has show interest. In fact, the Japanese military has only one overseas base, in Djibouti.
But now the Chinese People`s Liberation Army has a support base in Djibouti, which enhances its power in the region. But the most high profile projects in the country have come from Beijing as it has provided the country with a population of less then 1 million, with economic aid, and public infrastructure projects, including rebuilding a French-made railway from 1917. Until recently the French had little interest with only 2 French leaders visiting Djibouti in the past 20 years. The US military has a base in the country along with bases in Yemen and Somalia as well.
Another reason that President Macron has visited its old colony is because President Ismail Omar Guelleh has openly attacked France for turning its back on its former colony and not investing any significant amount in the country for decades. In short, the people of Djibouti are asking for more investment from Paris to ensure that it continues to have a seat at the table.