The new International free trade zone provides a strategic base for global businesses to access the rapidly growing African market.
The opening ceremony celebrated the opening of the pilot zone, which already hosts the main office building, the first warehouses and facilities, as well as many companies already operating on the site.
The pilot phase comprises a 240-hectare zone, and is the result of US$370 million investment. It consists of three functional blocks located close to all of Djibouti's major ports.
The 10-year project will see a total investment of US$3.5 billion. Once complete, the free zone will span an area of 4,800 hectares making it Africa's largest free trade zone.
Sitting on two of the world's busiest maritime routes, Djibouti's strategic location makes it an important entry point into African markets for global commerce. It also a critical node for China's "Belt and Road" initiative.
DIFTZ will focus in particular on the development of industries such as the logistics, marine, construction, automotive, and home electrical industries.
The DIFTZ Project Preparatory Group, which is running the project, consists of Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority (DPFZA) together with three major Chinese partners: China Merchants Group, Dalian Port Authority and IZP.
The DIFTZ will also be equipped with advanced facilities to support the companies operating there including high-speed telecommunications, power and water supplies, roads and parking lots.
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