A Djiboutian electoral agent searches for a voter card at a polling station on 22 March 2016. Photo by Getty Images.

Tight political choreography ensured that Djibouti’s presidential polls on 8 April resulted in the re-election of Ismael Omar Guelleh for his fourth five-year term. The vote highlighted both the enhanced strategic importance of the tiny state and the choices facing its ruling elite. Revenues from foreign military bases and transit trade are rising fast; and Guelleh’s legitimacy in the eyes of key overseas allies and neighbouring Ethiopia appears assured.

What is less certain is whether the president, now 68, has either the will or capacity to transform his considerable diplomatic and economic capital into tangible improvements in welfare, education and employment for the many Djiboutians facing acute poverty.…  Seguir leyendo »