Djibouti Invites Saudis to Invest in Africa’s Largest Free Trade Zone

A delegation from Djibouti, led by Chairman of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority Aboubaker Omar Hadi, held talks with members of the Saudi business community at the Federation of Saudi Chambers in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Discussions tackled the economic and investment opportunities and means to double trade exchange between the two countries.

Hadi called on Saudi entrepreneurs to invest in Africa’s largest free trade zone, which covers 48 square kilometers on the Red Sea, affirming the availability of an appropriate infrastructure to receive Saudi investments in various sectors. He pointed to its unique geographic location, which makes it a key network for economic and commercial exchanges at the African and global levels.

Hadi further referred to the Authority’s goals in the field of ports, logistics and free zones, noting that his country is a large gateway to an almost 1.3 billion population in Africa. He underlined the country’s strategic location between trade routes of the East and the West, with over $2 trillion worth of goods passing through every year.

Djibouti has also maintained its currency rate at a fixed parity with the US dollar for over 40 years and enjoys a free currency exchange policy.

Djibouti Ambassador to the Kingdom Dya-Eddine Said Bamakhrama told Asharq Al-Awsat that the future of bilateral cooperation will expand to include strategic partnerships.

This could be achieved by benefiting from the integration of development programs in his country with the Kingdom Vision 2030’s programs and objectives, in light of the available investment opportunities and enhanced bilateral ties.

FSC Secretary-General Hussein al-Abdulqader lauded the historical ties between the Kingdom and Djibouti.

He underscored the importance of taking advantage of the available investment capabilities and opportunities to develop more commercial and investment partnership projects and raise the volume of trade between the two countries, which has reached about SAR7 billion ($1.86 billion) with a growth rate of 103% in 2021 compared to 2020.

There is still a great chance to raise this figure in line with the efforts made and the available investment opportunities, Abdulqader added.