With the aim of promoting Djibouti as investment and tourist destination, the second international Djibouti trade fair opens on Monday attracting some 310 exhibitors from different countries.
Compared to the previous year, the number of companies who exhibited their products and services has increased by 110, according to Mr. Yousouf Moussa Dawaleh.
“This year most of the participants are from Japan, Italy, Turkey and Ethiopia. In order to strengthen our relations, from Tuesday to Thursday we will be officially launching Djibouti-France, Djibouti-Ethiopia and Djibouti-Japan friendship days respectively, during the trade fair,” he said, speaking to journalists ahead of the opening of the trade fair.
“God willing next year we will include Djibouti-China, Djibouti-Egypt and Djibouti- Turkey friendship days,” he said, indicating that some 16,000 visitors are expected to visit the week long exhibition.
In an attempt to diversify its economy Djibouti has been undertaking measures that will make the country top investment destination in the Horn of Africa.
Some of the measures taken by the government includes, introduction of Free Zones, which will allow international companies to easily setup companies with zero profit tax like Dubai of the United Arab Emirates.
Some of the major the major investment areas Djibouti is offering for global businesses are livestock, tourism, fishing, salt, banking, insurance, infrastructure, telecommunication, renewable energy and real estate.
Reports show that currently many foreign companies including Ethiopians mainly engaged in the transit business are operating in Djibouti Free Zones.
The country has also been hugely investing in the development of new ports and renovation of the existing ones to mainly serve its neighbor Ethiopia. Currently Djibouti has increased its ports to seven of which two are under construction, according to Mr. Yousouf.
In addition, Djibouti has also managed to get attention of some of the major economies in the world because of its strategic location.
France, China, the United States and Japan are reportedly claimed to have military presence in Djibouti, which is the busiest global trade route on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and a gateway to the Suez Canal. Such global interest has also been instrumental in increasing income of the government of Djibouti over the past few years.