ASEAN for Africa?

Common Market plan for an Africa that is not always looking for charity

Christina Leadlay
Published: Wednesday, 01/19/2005 12:00 am EST

"The last time I was [in Djibouti] was in 1997, and I was very impressed with the economic change," says Mr. Awaleh, organizer of Ottawa's Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) forum. "What was noticeable was the investment of Dubai. The country has completely changed economically. You could notice it in the attitudes of the people." About 15 years ago the port of Dorale in Djibouti became the focus of much investment from Emirati businessmen in Dubai, who have since poured $300 million to make it a modern international port, according to a release from Comesa. Mr. Awaleh, a Canadian consultant born in Somalia, was so impressed with the turnaround and the effects it has had in neighbouring Ethiopia that he wondered, "where is Canada? Why are Canadian companies not investing in Africa as they are ­ as we hear about all the time ­ in China or India?"

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