On November 26, 2007, Assistant Administrator Kate Almquist (AA/AFR) and Djiboutian Prime Minister Dileita Mohamed Dileita opened the first food pre-positioning warehouse in Africa. The event was hosted by Ambassador W. Stuart Symington and attended by more than 60 dignitaries. USAID/Djibouti worked extensively with the Government of Djibouti and logistics company BMMI to organize the opening.
The warehouse has the capacity to store more than 25,000 metric tons of food aid commodities and will dramatically reduce the response time in the case of an emergency in the region. Djibouti was selected as the pre-positioning site because of its location, world class port facilities, government support and work force.
The warehouse holds stocks of corn soya blend, corn meal and vegetable oil, which will be used to respond to emergencies in and around the region, saving a lag time of three to four months if the same food were to be dispatched from ports in the U.S.
Having a pre-positioning facility on the African continent is a great asset to the humanitarian community, as this region is frequently beset by emergencies and the pre-positioning facility provides an opportunity to respond to emergencies quickly.