Abdourahman Boreh, the former chairman of Djibouti’s ports, announced he will challenge President Ismael Omar Guelleh in April elections in the Horn of Africa nation that hosts the only U.S. army base in Africa.
Boreh pledged to improve the standard of living for people in the nation of 879,000 and prevent “serious civil unrest.”
“The country has had good income from its ports and transport facilities, and from foreign bases on its territory,” Boreh said in an e-mailed statement today. “But the population remains chronically poor, with social indicators in line with the very poorest countries of the world.”
Boreh said he was Chairman of the Djibouti Port and Free Zone Authority from 2000 to 2009, before going into exile.
Goulleh, who is Djibouti’s second ruler since independence from France in 1977, brought insurgents into a unity government a decade ago to end years of fighting.
Djibouti’s port in the Gulf of Aden serves as a transit point for goods leaving and entering landlocked Ethiopia.