Djibouti happy with results of second expo

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The booth of the Abeba Textile and Garment Factory, which is an Ethiopian company, was one of the private sector companies being crowded by visitors during the second International Djibouti Trade Fair held from December 3 to 10 which was held at Palais du Peuple (the public conference center) located in the heart of the capital.
The event organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Djibouti (CCD) is the second ever such kind of activity for the country, which is the major logistics hub for Ethiopian import export and international transshipment routes from Europe and Asia.
A year ago during its 110th anniversary the chamber organized the historical and first fair in the country which is considered a major event in the city.
The current year’s exhibition not only increased the number of fair dates but it has added several exhibitors from all over the world including Ethiopian businesses.
In the opening speech Youssouf Moussa Dawaleh, President of CCD, said that the number of participant exhibitors has reached 310 a huge improvement from 200 the previous year 200. “The participants are coming from five continents in the world,” he said.
Youssouf Moussa indicated that such kind of events will boost the chamber’s activity and economic integration in the region and the continent in addition to expanding the investment in Djibouti.
The event was opened by President Ismail Omar Guelleh. He said 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 to 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.
The event is one of the first opportunities for Ethiopian private sector actors to promote their businesses in Djibouti, which is the country that mainly imports agricultural goods and cash crops like khat from Ethiopia.
Ethiopian businesses engaged in manufacturing, agro-processing, engineering and logistics are among the participants.
Abeba Zenebe, manager and owner of Abeba Textile and Garment Factory, is an entrepreneur who established a business about two decade ago to modernize Ethiopian traditional clothes and now the capital of the company reached 60 million birr. She said that she is successful by her business and now expanded to big factory level that started from small scale garment and design business.
“Our clothing is worn by top figures including the former Prime Minister, celebrities and the general public,” she told Capital. At the event held in Djibouti her company was also one of the Ethiopian companies that participated.
She said that Abeba Textile has participated in several exhibitions in different countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. “Our products has got big acceptance on the all exhibition we participated,” she said. “We have understood what the demand here in Djibouti,” Abeba said. “It is my first participation and I have understand that they more attracted on the traditional wears that are suitable for the hot weather of Djibouti at the same time we have also got order to supply the product in Djibouti,” she added.
Other Ethiopian companies and products like beans and oilseeds, and hot paper and Ethiopian traditional tests have been promoted at the exhibition by companies from Ethiopia or based in Djibouti.
The company called Coskal S.A.R.L, a Djibouti company, for instance has been engaging promoting Ethiopian processed coffee that it imported from Moye Coffee of Ethiopia.
Theo Theodossiou, Director of Coskal, said that his company that has also another company called Coskal Ethiopia in Ethiopia is participating on the exhibition that produced exclusively for Coskal Djibouti by Moye.
“Currently we have expanded our coffee market in Djibouti including the navy based in Djibouti,” he said. The company previously use coffee imported from Europe but it has now changed. Coskal Djibouti is also imported Ethiopian water and beer to Djibouti.
It was observed that visitors have been crowded on the booth that Ethiopian stands. Most of the visitors and exhibitors are stated the reason why is that the relationship of the two countries in terms of culture, language and economy is the main reason. “We are familiar for Ethiopian foods that is why I am interested to visit the booth for Ethiopian traditional food products,” a visitor told Capital.
The current year’s event that is expected to be visited by 16,000 Djiboutian has registered significant increases not only in the number of exhibitors but types of companies.
Youssouf Moussa said that the number of Ethiopian business and products that promoted in the exhibition visibly grew for the year.
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.
On the Ethiopian day that attended by Ethiopian state minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Djibouti has been also attracted several individuals. The day that shows Ethiopian music, cousin and traditional coffee ceremony besides fashion show has been concluded testing Ethiopian cuisine.
Djibouti Foreign Affairs Minister, Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, and Hirut Zemene, State Minister of Foreign Affairs, amplified that the relationship of the two countries has been expanded in various sectors including political and economy.
Currently, Ethiopia and Djibouti has connected by telecom, electric, railway and pipe water besides various bondages.
CCD achievements
Despite CCD is the oldest such kind of association in the east African region it has been late to introduce such kind of events for the country that mainly attached with service based economy. However it was late it has concluded two major events in the past two years.
The second International Djibouti Trade Fair is one of the major events for CCD that is also planned to undertake economic forum this year. Youssouf Moussa said that the first fair has been included the economic forum that discussed economic development of the region and Djibouti. But for this time we have divided the event in to two the fair separately and the form in the first quarter of 2019. “We have successfully accomplished the fair and the next step will be the form,” he said.
The forum is expected to include well know experts throughout the world.
The chamber has also a plan to make Djibouti a hub of exhibition and trade fair like other similar events in Middle East and Asian cities. To achieve that the chamber has developed a strategy to expand facilities and hotels in the city on the aim accommodate the exhibiters and their guests, according to head of the chamber.
Economy
Djibouti is a free market economy country that is sharply boosting its GDP since early 2000s. Currently the country has managed five modern ports in different sides of the sea and has also targeted to develop more ports in collaboration with dominant global players in the sector from the world.
The currently accomplished railway line that connects central Ethiopia to ports in Djibouti is also considered as the good opportunity to accelerate the logistics sector not only between the two countries but others in the west side of Ethiopia.
Besides the logistics sector the country has also introduced free zone facility that is already attracts major companies that undertake packaging and semi processing their products to play on the ground of the zone.
Besides the logistics sector the country has targeted to boost the other business and source of hard currency, tourism.
Osman Abdi Mohamed, CEO of National Tourism Office of Djibouti, said that his organization has targeted to attract more tourists in the coming years and expand the contribution of the sector for the GDP.
He stated that in 2017, 140,000 tourists have visited Djibouti and tourism contributed to 3% of the gross domestic products (GDP) of the country. “Our plan is to make the tourism GDP share to 5 percent and the number of visitors to half a million, which is half of the population of Djibouti,” he said.
Youssouf Moussa, who is also popular in the country from his construction and real estate business, agreed that the tourism sector would be a good potential for the country. Both leaders said that the tourism sector of Djibouti is untapped business that has good potential for the country economy. They said that the country has sea side and related tourist destination besides Lac Assal, one of the lowest point in the world, and other areas that shall be visited.
They insisted that the business shall be worked together with Ethiopians. “Ethiopia has all tourist destinations like historical, cultural and natural parks but tour operators are providing a package that included seaside tourist destinations in the south east African tourist destinations like Mombasa or Zanzibar but all they have are available in Djibouti” the tourism CEO said. The tourism office of Djibouti has been discussed the issue with Ethiopian major actors to include Djibouti on their package that is now improving. They are also targeting to get Ethiopian tourists to visit the country and enjoy the sea that is the joint point of Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
The Ethiopian business like Kuriftu Resort, who recently opened the seaside restaurant in Djibouti city and under construction the resort on an island near by the capital, are also joining the tourism business.
They considered that such kinds of fairs are good opportunity for the country to promote its potentials in the tourism sector.