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Chinese company to finance construction of 1000 social houses in Djibouti

By Edith Mutethya | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-07-06 04:40
Ismail Omar Guelleh the Djibouti President waives to the residents of Cite Nassib, during the launch of the 1000 social houses financed by China Merchants Group on July 4, 2018 in Djibouti City. Edith Mutethya/China Daily.

As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, China Merchant Group, a Hong Kong-based conglomerate with extensive port business including investment in the Port of Djibouti is financing construction of 1000 social houses for the poor and less income earners in Djibouti.

According to Hu Jianhua, the Vice President of China Merchants Group (CMG), the company is committed to working in partnership with the government of Djibouti to realize the dream of the country's President Ismail Omar Guelleh to have decent houses for all.

With the national budget being unable to cover the financing of social housing, President Ismail Omar Guelleh launched an appeal for national solidarity in October 2016, to finance housing for the most vulnerable, the insolvent and the disabled. He thus set up a foundation in his name to receive donations. Many companies, both local and international, have responded to the call and financially supported Ismail Omar Guelleh (IOG) Foundation.

Ismail Omar Guelleh (right) the Djibouti President and Hu Jianhua (left), the Vice President of China Merchants Group lay a stone to mark launch of the 1000 social houses financed by China Merchants Group on July 4, 2018 in Djibouti City. Edith Mutethya/China Daily.

So far 450 houses have been constructed and occupied in Djibouti City, 10 kilometers from city center under a project dubbed Cite Nassib. The houses were equipped with all the amenities. Currently, 500 others are under construction and soon construction of the Chinese company funded 1,000 houses will kick off, following a launch of the project by the Djibouti president on July 4, 2018.

Hu says they have donated $7 million to the IOG Foundation for the construction of the 1,000 social houses. "The houses will be a gift to the people of Djibouti as an indication of the growing relationship and friendship between China and Djibouti," Hu says.

The 1,000-house project aims to strengthen the foundation's program, which consists of the construction of a basic housing consisting of two bedrooms, a kitchen and a toilet.

Mahmoud Ali Osman, CEO of the IOG Foundation, says their goal is to ensure that everybody in Djibouti whether rich or poor has a roof over their heads.

"People have greatly lauded the project and we are grateful to those who have donated their finances towards the construction of the houses," he says, adding that other Chinese companies have been making donations to the foundation.

Ismail Omar Guelleh (right) the Djibouti President take a photo shoot with the China Merchants Group staff and government officials during the launch of the 1000 social houses financed by China Merchants Group on July 4, 2018 in Djibouti City. Edith Mutethya/China Daily.

Under direct supervision of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, CMG is a conglomerate with three business platforms of non-financial industries, financial services, investment and capital operation. CMG's non-financial industries cover ports, toll roads, shipping, logistics, real estate, zone development, offshore engineering and trade.

The company actively participates in the Belt and the Road initiative, operating 53 ports in 20 countries and districts, creating an overseas network of ports, logistics, finance and industrial parks.

CMG is very influential in five major ports in China including Pearl River Delta (Hong Kong, Shenzhen), Yangtze River Delta (Shanghai, Ningbo), Bohai Bay (Qingdao, Tianjin, and Dalian), Xiamen Bay (Zhangzhou), and Southwest coastal area (Zhanjiang).

In 2017, the company's container throughput was over 100 million TEUs for the first time, making the company the Chinese biggest and a world-leading terminal developer, investor and operator.

Contact the writer at edithmutethya@chinadaily.com.cn

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