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Djibouti’s Energy Minister to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Aim for Full Electrification by 2035

Djibouti’s Energy Minister to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Aim for Full Electrification by 2035

Saturday, 29 January, 2022 - 10:45
Djibouti’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Yonis Ali Guedi.

Djibouti’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Yonis Ali Guedi said that facing climate challenges and the depletion of traditional resources requires promoting and developing clean energies.

He added that his government was currently focusing on increasing electric power and achieving a 100 percent electrification rate by 2035, as well as promoting access to clean, carbon-neutral and affordable energy.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Guedi said the availability of clean energy would allow the generation of more wealth and achieve sustainable and comprehensive economic and social development, pointing to the need to strengthen cooperation between his country and Saudi Arabia.

Partnership with Saudi Arabia

Guedi stressed Djibouti’s desire to benefit from the Saudi experience and expertise in the field of energy and mining, underlining the will to consolidate the already fruitful and multi-faceted cooperation and direct it towards the fields of energy and mining.

He also called on Saudi investors to promote and develop clean renewable energy sources and mining resources.

“Djibouti’s geographical and geological location and its great potential in mineral resources encourage the mobilization of the necessary financing to launch exploration works within the framework of a strategic partnership that will involve the public and private sectors of the two countries,” he said.

He added that his government was intending to organize an international mining exhibition in Djibouti, with the participation of Saudi investors, to benefit from the Saudi experience and expertise.

“Saudi Arabia is a key partner for Djibouti in the field of economic and social development. Our ambition is to succeed in exploiting the untapped potential of mining… in translation of the national vision aimed at reconciling the necessary economic development with the protection of the natural environment,” the minister told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Sector development plan

On the government’s plan to develop the oil and energy sector in Djibouti in 2022, Guedi said: “We seek to develop the oil and energy sector in accordance with the Djibouti Vision 2035, as the country enjoys a strategic location at the crossroads of the African continent and the Arabian Peninsula.”

He continued: “The Bab al-Mandeb strait is considered the fourth global sea crossing in the transportation of hydrocarbons, especially since Djibouti is an oil importing country, and our energy sector relies heavily on the use of traditional sources.”

He noted that President Ismail Omar Guelleh directed the government to establish an industrial zone in Damergoj in southern Djibouti, where an oil port is being built, with a capacity ranging between 50,000-100,000 tons of heavy oil.

According to Guedi, the economic complex is expected to accommodate a 3-km offshore oil dock, an engineering platform, refineries and a hydrocarbon storage area, with a total capacity of more than 13 million tons and a storage capacity of more than 800,000 cubic meters in its first phase.

“To keep pace with these tremendous developments, we have adopted a training plan for the employees who are expected to work in this future oil port, with the technical support of our Tunisian brothers,” he said, adding: “In addition to the above, this future oil port will also be a landing point for a gas pipeline that stretches over 767 kilometers from Ethiopia, which is designed for the export of Ethiopian gas…”

Guedi revealed the government’s intention to launch the first wind farm, with a capacity of 60 megawatts, in addition to implementing other large-scale projects, including operating a solar power plant with a capacity of 30 megawatts in the Grand Bara area, as well as producing geothermal energy in the near future.

Work program

On the economic level, and to overcome the effects of the pandemic, the minister revealed that the president of Djibouti has directed the support of the private sector through stimulus packages to preserve the jobs of citizens, while approving incentive facilities for neighboring Ethiopia.

Those included exemptions on import through the ports of Djibouti during the coronavirus pandemic period and the decrease of electricity consumption prices. The government also adopted other decisions in solidarity with low-income citizens, he emphasized.

On his expectations regarding the volume of production, competitiveness and the balance of global energy markets in 2022, Guedi said: “I affirm that without energy, no development can be achieved. Energy is an essential catalyst and accelerator for sustainable and inclusive social and economic development, and access to abundant energy at lower cost is essential not only for families but also for the private sector.”

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