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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08DJIBOUTI885 2008-11-11 15:03:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

DJIBOUTI ON FY09 MCA SCORES: THE BALL'S IN OUR COURT

Tags:   PGOV ECON PHUM SOCI SENV KCOR KMCA KWMN DJ 
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VZCZCXRO8229
RR RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDJ #0885/01 3161503
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 111503Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9679
INFO RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION WASHINGTON DC
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DJIBOUTI 000885 

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E AND AF/EPS
LONDON, PARIS, ROME FOR AFRICA WATCHER
CJTF-HOA FOR POLAD

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ECON PHUM SOCI SENV KCOR KMCA KWMN DJ
SUBJECT: DJIBOUTI ON FY09 MCA SCORES: THE BALL'S IN OUR COURT

REF: A. STATE 111916

B. DJIBOUTI 684

DJIBOUTI 00000885 001.2 OF 002




1. (U) SUMMARY. In delivering advance copies of Djibouti's FY2009
Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Scorecard to GODJ officials (per
reftel), Post welcomed Djibouti's Presidential-level commitment to
improving indicator performance. In light of Djibouti's slight
backsliding in FY2009 scores, Post also urged the GODJ to sustain
its efforts to bolster performance--both through improved policy and
programs, and through better recordkeeping and communication with
indicator institutions. Although GODJ officials were disappointed
with Djibouti's lackluster scorecard, including setbacks in three
previously positive indicator areas (Land Rights and Access, Primary
Education Expenditures, and Fiscal Policy), all interlocutors agreed
that it was now Djibouti's responsibility to address remaining
weaknesses. In particular, while several GODJ officials complained
that indicator institutions were using incorrect or outdated
statistics, all agreed that it was the GODJ's challenge to provide
timely information. END SUMMARY.



--------------------------


PRESIDENCY: WILL MAINTAIN ENGAGEMENT


--------------------------





2. (SBU) According to multiple sources, President Guelleh has taken
an active personal interest in improving Djibouti's MCA scores. OnQ
November 5, PolOff delivered an advance copy of Djibouti's scorecard
to Mr. Meraneh Daher, Advisor to the Presidency on International
ReQtions. Daher confirmed that President Guelleh remained "100%
behind MCA efforts," and reported that an informal inter-ministerial
committee on MCA, comprising Secretaries-General from all relevant
Ministries, had been established under the aegis of the Presidency
and was conferring regularly.



3. (SBU) Daher was "disappointed" with Djibouti's FY2009 scores, and
predicted that senior GODJ principals would also be disappointed.
However, Daher said that he hoped for improvements in FY2010,
especially since U.S. law firm Foley Hoag LLC--under contract to
advise the GODJ on improving MCA scores--had reportedly advised that
there could be a significant time lag between when the GODJ provided
new information to indicator institutions, and when any subsequent
improvements showed up in the scores. Daher confirmed that the GODJ
continued to work with Foley Hoag, and said that the firm might make
another field visit to Djibouti.



4. (SBU) Daher was especially dismayed at Djibouti's lack of
progress in the "Investing in People" categories, citing the GODJ's
recent heavy emphasis on health, education, and poverty reduction
programs. Daher said he feared that some of Djibouti's poor scores
might be due to gaps in data and other statistical problems. In
particular, he cited widespread use by indicator institutions of
inaccurate and likely too-high population estimates. (NOTE.
Djibouti's last census data derive from a 1983 study, never
officially published. A long awaited new census is currently
underway, and preliminary results are anticipated in early 2009.
END NOTE.) Daher also acknowledged that Djibouti had probably not
provided updated statistics to UNESCO promptly, and said that the
GODJ did not have a strong tradition of close collaboration with
UNESCO, which has a very small in-country presence. Daher suggested
that the GODJ might make an extra effort to invite the UNESCO
Representative resident in Addis Ababa, or other UNESCO officials,
to visit Djibouti, and perhaps to provide some training on
procedures for submitting data to UNESCO.



5. (SBU) Daher reported that as part of ongoing outreach to
indicator institutions, the GODJ had invited a Freedom House
representative to visit Djibouti. He said that the November 17-19
visit would include governmental and civil society meetings, and was
primarily aimed at gauging the feasibility of holding a Freedom
House "Dialogue on Freedom" in Djibouti. Daher said that the GODJ
had already offered to fund the $25,000 cost of this program, but
that Freedom House's internal rules prevented acceptance of
government financing. (NOTE. Freedom House representatives have
contacted Post, and are scheduled to meet with EmbOffs during their
Djibouti visit. END NOTE.)



--------------------------


FINANCE AND EDUCATION:
GODJ MUST COMMUNICATE


--------------------------





6. (SBU) PolOff delivered a copy of the advance scorecard November 3
to Ministry of Finance MCA Coordinator Houssein Ahmed Youssouf.
Youssouf echoed Daher's disappointment about the scores. He also
agreed that that Djibouti could do better in compiling accurate and

DJIBOUTI 00000885 002.2 OF 002


timely data, and in communicating those data to international
organizations such as UNESCO. At the same time, he emphasized that
the responsibility for outdated or insufficient data belonged solely
to the "government of Djibouti, and not to the MCC or international
organizations." He volunteered, for example, that the Directorate
of Budget could improve its procedures and transparency, and that
the GODJ should invite UNESCO officials for a working visit.



7. (U) Ministry of Education Secretary-General Fathi Ahmed Chamsan
was likewise disappointed with the advance copy of the scorecard,
delivered November 6. Chamsan was especially unhappy at Djibouti's
slide backwards in "Primary Education Expenditures," and at the lack
of progress in "Girls' Primary Education Completion." He agreed
that Djibouti needed to improve communication with UNESCO and with
the UN in general. His team especially complained that many UN
agencies were using an inaccurate baseline population estimate,
based on projections that did not account for recent reductions in
population growth rates. Chamsan said he worried that this
"inflated" baseline "denominator" was masking Djibouti's progress in
areas such as "Girls' Primary Education Completion." Nevertheless,
Chamsan said it was now up to the GODJ to improve performance and
communication, saying "the ball is in our court."



8. (U) COMMENT. While Djibouti's FY2009 scores are somewhat
disheartening, the GODJ remains committed, at the highest levels, to
making progress in MCA indicator areas. That key GODJ officials
consistently took responsibility for addressing deficits is also
encouraging. In ongoing conversations with host country
interlocutors, Post will continue to urge the GODJ to maintain MCA
momentum--through better record-keeping and communication, and
through concrete programs and policy reform. END COMMENT.

SWAN