July 2, 2018: Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority (DPFZA) will be inaugurating pilot zone of Djibouti International Free Trade Zone (DIFTZ) on July 5 which will be spread over 2.4 square kilometer. The zone will be officially inaugurated by His Excellency the president of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh.

The pilot zone is expected to cater to logistics industry - including transportation, bonded warehousing, distribution; business industry - including bulk bonded goods transactions, merchandise display, duty-free merchandise retail; processing & manufacturing – including packaging production, light processing of materials and food processing. It will also support businesses, including financial services, information services, accommodation, offices and training facilities.

Initially, DIFTZ will have two warehouses for China Merchants Bonded and East Africa Holdings, and for a hotel. Later on, in the first phase of expansion it will cover six square kilometer. DIFTZ will span over a total of 48.2 square kilometer.

DIFTZ will be one of the largest free trade zones in Africa and a major stage in the Silk Road initiative. This free trade zone will allow foreign investors to benefit from a range of incentives such as zero percent property, dividend, corporate income taxes and no VAT. It will provide comprehensive solutions to companies operating in the services, trade and manufacturing industries and is set to attract businesses from around the world. The next phases will welcome other industries, such as the automotive industry or home electrical industries.

At the same time, DPFZA, China Merchants Group Limited and the United Nations Development Programme will hold the China-Africa Economic Forum and Exhibition from July 5-7. Both the events are in line with the long-term strategic vision of the country, Vision 2035.