The African continent is embarking on an urban revolution. Its economic growth is coming from infrastructure and technology investments; and according to the World Bank’s projections for global growth, eleven out of the twenty fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa.
With its strategic location and its stable government, Djibouti provides safe access to over 400 million consumers of the Common Market for Eastern and SouthernAfrica (COMESA), linking twenty member states. This represents substantial business opportunities.
Djibouti is known as a Haven of Peace, and it plays a vital strategic role in the Horn of Africa. Its location at the entrance to the Red Sea and its status as a free trade area mean that the Port of Djibouti provides an economic lifeline for countries in the region.
Djibouti’s Latest Developments
Djibouti is located along the second busiest shipping route of the world, where 60% of the world marine traffic transits. Since 1998, its port facilities handled 100% of Ethiopia’s maritime traffic, which moves to and from Addis Ababa by truck and rail. This representsmost of Ethiopia’s USD 13 billion import and USD 3 billion export goods to come and exit through Djibouti port.
To consolidate its regional transportation and logistics hub for landlocked countries in the region—ten out seventeen countries in Africa—Djibouti has embarked in several infrastructure mega projects totaling US$14 billion over the next ten years. It is currently constructing US$804 million multi-purpose and three specialized ports to be dedicated for export of livestock, potash and industrial salt. The other mega projects include new airports, national shipping company, crude oil terminal, development of business districts and US$3 billion natural gas refinery.
In May 2015, the Djibouti government approved the creation of a national airline Air Djibouti to serve as a tool for implementing its transport and job creation policies as well as diversify its sources of revenue.
The Djibouti-Ethiopia Telecom Connection
Djibouti’s telecom system ranks among the best in Africa. With its submarine connections to improve by end-2016, this will reinforce the country’s hub status for internet bandwidth in the Horn of Africa region. The Djibouti Telecom is working to introduce fourth generation (4G) technology by the year 2016.
Over the last five years, it has spent over US$50 million to improve its telecomfacilities including three-way fiber transmission lines that connects it with Ethiopia, a country with a population of 94 million. Both Djiboutian and Ethiopian telecoms companies are interested to enhance its existing cooperation and even to boost the service for possible regional economic integration.
Djibouti is well positioned as a major meeting point for undersea fiberoptic cable systems connecting Europe, the Middle East and Asia, to Africa. With the growth in the service-based economy, the rise of smartphone use across the region, innovations in banking and payments technology and perhaps the creation of call centers, this represents many exciting business opportunities.