NewsEast & Horn AfricaDjibouti commissions $3.5 bln Chinese-built free trade zone

Tue,17Jul2018

Posted on Friday, 06 July 2018 10:49

Djibouti commissions $3.5 bln Chinese-built free trade zone

By Reuters

Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh, center, arrives for a round table event at an EU Africa summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017. Photo: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP/SIPADjibouti commissioned a $3.5 billion, Chinese-built free trade zone on Thursday, deepening ties with the Asian giant and helping the Horn of Africa nation generate more jobs for its youths.

Djibouti, with a population of 876,000, already hosts Chinese, U.S. and French naval bases and it also handles roughly 95% of the goods imported by Ethiopia, its land-locked neighbour with 99 million people.

The new trade zone, one of several new port and trade facilities being developed by Djibouti, covers 48 square kms and was built by China's Dalian Port Corporation.

A zone of hope

The zone will be jointly operated by Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority and China's Merchants Holdings company.

"It is ... a zone of hope for thousands of young jobseekers," Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh said at the inauguration ceremony, which was also attended by the presidents of Rwanda, Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan.

The agreement to build the free trade zone was signed in March 2016 as part of China's “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which is a bid to expand trade routes with a series of infrastructure initiatives stretching across 60 countries.

"Our strategic location and world-class facilities have ... seen Djibouti’s importance as a trade hub recognised globally," Aboubakar Omar Hadi, chairman of the Djibouti Ports and Free Trade zone, told Reuters at the ceremony.

 



Subscriptions Digital EditionSubscriptions PrintEdition

FRONTLINE

NEWS

POLITICS

HEALTH

SPORTS

BUSINESS

SOCIETY

TECHNOLOGY

COLUMNISTS

Music & Film

SOAPBOX

Newsletters

Keep up to date with the latest from our network :

subscribe2

Connect with us