The Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority (DPFZA) has launched a regeneration project to incorporate the Port of Djibouti into a district called the East Africa International Special Business Zone.
In a statement, the DPFZA said the regeneration will take place in six phases. The first will see the creation of the International Demonstration Area, a 220,500 square metre area that will include an exhibition centre, including a centre of excellence for maritime studies, as well as conference rooms, a hotel and apartments.
The first phase on its own will cost approximately $153 million and is due to be completed within five years.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Chairman Hadi of DPFZA said: “The regeneration of the Historical Port of Djibouti is the natural continuation of Djibouti’s recent developments. This project implements the Port-Park-City concept, which refers to the integration of ports, industrial parks and services.
“The ports are a key node in the transportation of goods; the international free trade zone brings added value to these goods; and this new business district will facilitate the development of services, particularly in the financial sector.”
The DPFZA said the development of an international business district will advance Djibouti’s Vision 2035, the national development strategy to maximise the country’s geostrategic position.
It said the transformation of the Port “marks the final step in the implementation of the Port-Park-City concept”, the full integration of Djibouti’s ports, industrial parks and services sector.
Djibouti has, alongside three major Chinese backers — China Merchants Group, the Dalian Port Authority and IZP Technologies — has invested heavily in its supply chain infrastructure, including expansions to the Doraleh Multipurpose Port. The aim is to turn the Horn of Africa into a hub of trade an commerce.
However, the government has also been involved in a legal dispute with DP World since nationalised the port in February 2018. The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) has ruled the seizure illegal on six occasions.