The country of Djibouti aims to be the first “green” African country.
Supported by strong partnerships, Djibouti is substantially increasing its share of renewable energy within its electricity production. Djibouti’s stated ambition, that is, to become the first country in Africa to be entirely reliant on green energy has been mocked. But this skepticism is not entirely unfounded.
For more than two decades, Djibouti has been in an energy race against time. The stakes are high for this small country with a subsoil devoid of any fossil fuels. Again, for which electricity coverage is as much a question of economic and social development as it is of national sovereignty.
“We are developing a strategy,” says Yonis Ali Guedi, minister for the sector. Developing this sector would enable the country to have the energy resources required to set in motion the impressive urban, port, and in the not-too-distant future, industrial infrastructures that have been emerging over the past 10 years, in a highly unstable sub-regional context.
Aware of the difficulty of this equation, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (IOG) took up the issue in 1999. A few months after coming to power, the Djiboutian President secured the electricity interconnection project with his Ethiopian neighbour. This had been under discussion for several years between the two countries. It materialised in 2011 with the construction of a 283-km high-voltage line linking the Ethiopian town of Dire Dawa to the suburbs of Djibouti City.
“It represents 60 to 65% of the country’s electricity consumption,” says the minister. A second one is currently being completed to inject an additional 60 MW per day into the Djibouti network before the end of the year.
Despite this increase in available power, Djibouti has only have gained a short respite as electricity consumption continues to increase.
“Household demand alone is increasing at a rate of 10% each year,” says Guedi, without mentioning the connection of major facilities delivered in recent years and to be delivered in the future. “Today, the country’s daily needs are of the order of 120 MW, and could be 500 MW by 2025 and 1,000 MW by 2030,” says the minister, describing a problem that has yet to be resolved.