Early last month the Republic of Djibouti put in an application to join the OECD World Forum for Transparency so as to turn the small Red Sea state into a fully modern embodiement of liberal and up-to-date transnational economics . This was a very nice announcement . But what was less nice was that , at the same time , the ODPIC (Office Djiboutien de la Propriété industrielle et Commerciale Djibouti Office for Indsutrial and Commercial Property) stopped putting its property registry online . Why did OPDIC suddenly go silent on this essential statistical and legal element ? Well , well , well , there were silent constraints dictated by the economic (and political) realities . Djibouti is dreaming of becoming a financial hub , even perhaps one of these tax havens on the Luxemburg-Virgin Islands-Jersey model . And at the same time is is getting closer and closer to the People’s Republic of China which is building both a commercial harbor and a military base in Djibouti , side-by-side with the French , US and even Japanese installations (the Japanese are nervous about the Chinese deployment and would like an extension of their hitherto modest perimeter) . Big player military games , conflicting interests , large investments , the projected financial hub is right now defering to Chinese demands for discretion . Chinese companies are perched on the edge of the Red Sea and would like to step into the regional great game with discretion . You said “transparency” ? Yes , by all means . But let’s have a “managed transparency” , transparent for some and opaque for others , according to needs and status . In modern liberalese the good word for this is “flexibility” . President IOG is extremely flexible .

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