|05DJIBOUTI245||2005-03-07 13:11:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Djibouti|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
1. (U) Ambassador and USAID directly called February 23 on
Minister of Education Abdi Ibrahim Absieh to obtain a
read-out of his February 8-13 visit to the United States.
Senior Advisor and Executive Secretary of the Ministry of
Education, Aideed Aden Guedi, who traveled with Absieh, and
Secretary General of the Ministry, Fathi Shamsan, sat in on
2. (U) Absieh said his visit had been pleasant and useful.
Its main purpose had been to negotiate the second World Bank
USD 10 million education loan to Djibouti. The proposed
three-year World Bank education program complements
activities USAID/Djibouti is implementing in basic education,
focusing on increasing access, instructional quality,
education equity, and community participation in education.
The visit also gave him the opportunity, he stated, to have
face-to-face meetings with key individuals with whom he
partners and to discuss issues of importance in the education
sector. He said he had carried with him a proposal for
funding of a national census this year, in support of
education and health planning and execution. He had also
carried proposals for potable water provisioning and for
further development of the livestock marketing facility
currently under construction with USAID funding. Absieh
expressed gratitude for the lunch hosted by AF DAS Don
Yamamoto at State, for the working dinner hosted by Dr.Sarah
Moten, Director of AFR/SD in USAID and head of the
President's Education Initiative, for the meeting with Gene
Sperling of the Center for universal Education at the Council
on Foreign Relations, and for other meetings arranged on his
3. (U) Absieh expressed concern over the World Bank's
decision that Djibouti's per capita income of USD 915 is
higher than the cut-off amount of USD 895 for "poor"
developing countries and therefore a "medium level" country
in terms of poverty ranking. He challenged population
statistics which brought about such an assessment and
insisted Djibouti's population has grown substantially in
recent years. It is for this reason, he said, that a census
is needed. Absieh emphasized the high poverty rate, high
unemployment rate, and the low level of education in Djibouti
to make the case for U.S. interim intervention with the World
Bank to help Djibouti negotiate a transitional period during
which it would adjust to the conditions set by this new
categorization. He noted that Djibouti receives concessional
loans from the Arab Development Bank and the African
Development Bank and that both institutions understand
Djibouti to be "poor." He added, however, that Djibouti has
been invited to join the fast track program and that it would
need the help of donors to prepare proposals for submission
to the program.
4. (U) Absieh said he had thanked USAID for providing
Djibouti with 1,500 English/French dictionaries developed by
AFR/SD at USAID for use in African countries. The books would
be forwarded to USAID/Djibouti for distribution. He had also
expressed appreciation for approval of the Ambassador's girls
scholarship program for Djibouti that would award 1,000
scholarships during the next school year in support of
education of girls in the poor urban and rural areas.