DJIBOUTI, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh on Sunday officially launched the cross-border water supply project between Ethiopia and Djibouti, in the country's southern town of Ali-Sabieh.
The event which was attended by a strong ministerial delegation from Ethiopia, coincided with the celebrations to mark the World Water Day.
The project involves supply of groundwater from Ethiopia's Hadagalla town to Djibouti's key towns of Ali-Sabieh, Dikhil, Arta and the capital
Through the project, Djibouti will be freely receiving 100,000 cubic meters of water daily for the next 20 years.
The project whose cost was estimated to be 22 million U.S. dollars that was provided by China Exim Bank, will be implemented by CGCOC, a Chinese company that also won the tender to construct a road linking the two countries.
With the launch of this project, the Djiboutian government hopes to end the perennial water problem and embark on achieving its long term development programs.
Guelleh said with this project, his country had managed to win the battle against water shortage which had always been an obstacle to Djibouti's development.
With an annual average of 200 mm of rain water per year in most parts of its national territory, Djibouti has always been classified as a country in a chronic water stress situation.
Drought, famine and their corollary consequences such as nomadic movement, impoverishment of the rural population and death of animals have worsened the situation, making local authorities to prioritize water shortage since the country's independence 38 years ago.
Speaking after the ceremony, Djibouti president hailed the existing economic partnership between his country and China.
"I particularly want to thank China. We are grateful to have China as our first economic partner," Guelleh said, adding that his country had excellent relations with China.
"China has always been on our side, it has trusted us and it is not like other countries that criticize our choices. On behalf of the Djiboutian government and people, I want to say thank you to the People's Republic of China," he concluded.