Over 300 companies attend Djibouti Trade Fair

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The 2nd International Djibouti Trade Fair attracted over 310 companies across five continents including Ethiopia to Djibouti.
The fair was first held last year during the 111th anniversary of Chamber of Commerce of Djibouti (CCD), and this year’s grew considerably.
The ten day event primarily brought in potential trading partners, investors and new entrants into the region and the continent. It opened on Monday December 3 at Palais du Peuple (the public conference center) located at the heart of the capital and is expected to be closed by tomorrow.
The event was opened by President Ismail Omar Guelleh. The president said that these types of events bring good opportunities for the country to expand investments. He added that the fair aims to boost the country’s economy and get the private sector involved. This includes bringing foreign direct investment in the country, which is one of the fast growing economies in the east African region and one featuring massive service and infrastructure developments.
Guelleh said his government is committed to creating a conducive environment for regional and global cooperation.
He said that his government has taken several measures including improving the policy framework, establishing free trade zones, and port developments.
Youssouf Moussa Dawaleh, President of CCD, told journalists from Ethiopia who attended the event that compared to the previous year, the number of companies who exhibited their products and services has increased by 110. He said that a year ago there were 200 participants. The current year’s event that is expected to be visited by 16,000 Djiboutians has registered significant increases not only in the number of exhibitors but types of companies.
This year most of the participants are from Japan, Italy, China and also Ethiopia so the event has been more diverse.
Djibouti-France, Djibouti-Ethiopia and Djibouti-Japan friendship days were officially launched during the trade fair, from December 4 to 6. The CCD president told Ethiopian media members a day before the opening of the fair that such events are undertaken to strengthen our relations with the various countries and that next year’s fair would include friendship days of Djibouti-China, Djibouti-Egypt and Djibouti-Turkey.
Ethiopian businesses engaged in manufacturing, agro-processing, engineering and logistics are among the participants. They said that the fair has created a good opportunity to expand their business in the neighboring state, which is the main sea outlet for Ethiopia. Last year Ethiopian companies had not attended the fair at Djibouti, which mainly imports its agricultural products from Ethiopia.
At the time Ethiopian companies claimed that the rate for booth lease was expensive, according to Shamebo Fitamo, the outgoing Ethiopian Ambassador in Djibouti. He said that for this year his embassy in collaboration with CCD facilitated an affordable price for Ethiopian participants. In addition businesses owned by Ethiopians but based in Djibouti have been promoting their products which are mostly imported from Ethiopia.
Dawaleh said that this year’s event unlike last year focused on the fair. A year ago the event that CCD organized has included a forum that raised various topics including regional economic integration besides the fair. “We want to give equal attention for both events and due to that we have decided to undertake the forum separately,” he said. The CCD forum is expected to be held in the second month of the coming year.
The Chamber plans to expand the fair as one of the top events in the world. To make it come to fruition it also has a plan to establish a huge facility in the heart of the city. In the near future CCD has targeted to have a hall with hotel such as other countries that host similar events.
Besides the opening day, the traditional music group of National Theater of Ethiopia was entertaining the fair participants with a cultural show. .
Djibouti Foreign Affairs Minister, Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, and Hirut Zemene, State Minister of Foreign Affairs attended the cultural show on Djibouti- Ethiopia friendship day held on Wednesday December 5. (See more pics on page 41)