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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04DJIBOUTI795 2004-06-09 12:26:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

HIRING FOR DORALEH PORT AND FREE ZONE SPARK LOCAL

Tags:   PGOV ELAB ECON EINV CASC ASEC DJ 
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L DJIBOUTI 000795 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF, AF/E AND DS/IP/AF

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/09/2014
TAGS: PGOV ELAB ECON EINV CASC ASEC DJ
SUBJECT: HIRING FOR DORALEH PORT AND FREE ZONE SPARK LOCAL
PROTESTS


Classified By: Pol/Econ Erinn C. Reed for reasons 1.4
(b) and (d).



1. (C) Protests by residents of the Afar neighborhood of
Arhiba blocked Rue d'Arta for several hours on 8 June 2004.
The protests were sparked by information that led the
residents to believe that the workforce hired by Dubai Ports
International to construct and run the Doraleh Port Facility
would be primarily expatriates and not Djiboutians.



2. (C) Another factor that led to the protests was the fear
of discrimination against Afars in the hiring process for the
new port. (Note: According to Econ FSN, Afars sense that
national hiring practices have been discriminatory towards
them and that a hiring quota similar to the allocation in
place at the National Assembly should be extended to all
sectors of government and the economy. End Note.) Post's
source at the Ministry of Justice indicates that Afar
residents of Arhiba are demanding an agreement with the
Government of Djibouti that all future hiring for the Doraleh
Port Facility and the Djibouti Free Zone should guarantee a
certain number of jobs to Afars.



3. (C) The protests, largely street demonstrations, were
broken up by the police, but only after negotiations.
According to a police source, the units dispatched to the
protests were instructed to make no arrests, use no violent
force, and to negotiate a peaceful end. These instructions
are apparently the result of bad blood between the residents
of Arhiba and the police, due to a particularly violent clash
with Arhiba residents in the early nineties. The police
successfully negotiated an end to the protest on the terms
that the residents would get the chance to meet with the
Prime Minister and discuss their demand for a quota. The
same source said that the Arhiba residents will prepare a
list of all Afar workers and their skill level, which will be
given to the government. The meeting with the Prime Minister
is scheduled for the morning of 9 June. Post will follow-up
on the developments from this meeting.



4. (C) COMMENT: Post cannot confirm whether the work force
hired for Doraleh Port Facility will be majority expatriate
or not. A meeting with the Doraleh construction supervisor
revealed that of the nearly 2,000 employees to be hired, only
250-300 would be Djiboutian. This number was based on their
assessment on the level of skilled workers present in
Djibouti. However, in a meeting with Abdourahman Boreh, the
main Djiboutian force behind the Doraleh project, Ambassador
was told that there would be a majority of Djiboutians hired
and only those skills not present in Djibouti would be
brought in from Dubai.



5. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: The lack of skilled workers in
Djibouti's workforce is the key roadblock to most foreign
investment. Without a strong surge in Djibouti's
entrepreneurial spirit and a push to provide vocational
training to the population, the government will not be able
to provide Djiboutians the volume of job opportunities they
seek.



6. (SBU) COMMENT CONTINUED: RSO and U.S. Military Force
Protection officers have been closely monitoring this
protest. Presently, there are no indications that the U.S.
Embassy and U.S. Military Base or any of its personnel are at
risk. Although tensions are high among protesters and some
vandalism has occurred in the form of rock throwing and
burning tires, the crowds have stayed within the area of
protest. Americans have been advised to avoid those areas in
which the protesters gather until the demonstrations have
subsided. END COMMENT.
RAGSDALE