President Kagame in Djibouti for Free Trade and Industrial Zone inauguration

President Paul Kagame has expressed support for the new Djibouti International Free Trade Zone launched yesterday.

Kagame who was in Djibouti on the invitation of the country’s president, President Ismail Omar Guelleh, during the launch of the project said that it is set to benefit countries in the region.

The newly completed industrial area is Djibouti’s pilot free trade zone.

It will provide comprehensive solutions to companies operating in the services, trade and manufacturing industries and is set to attract businesses from across the African continent and the world.

The project comes at a time when the continent is in the process of setting up an African Free Trade Area that will allow for the movement of goods across borders.

49 African nations – including Djibouti – recently signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a trade agreement aimed to create a single market for African countries.

By facilitating the removal of tariffs through implementation of the agreement it is estimated that it could increase intra-African trade by 52 per cent.

“We are behind you in the realisation of this project and I am sure it will serve us all, even as far south as Rwanda and beyond,” Kagame who is also the African Union Chairperson said.

The area, which will span over a total 48 square meters after expansion, is one of the largest free trade zones in Africa and will welcome other industries such as the automotive industry and home electrical industries.

The launch was also attended by Presidents Ismail Oguelleh of Djibouti, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of Somalia, Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, as well as AU Commission Moussa Faki.

In 2013, Djibouti offered Rwanda a 20-hectare piece of land at the port of Djibouti, and the latter was in reciprocity offered a plot of land in the Kigali Special Economic Zone according to a statement from the Presidency.