The European Business Council for Africa

Djibouti is capitalizing on its strategic location on one of the world’s busiest trade routes to build Africa’s largest free trade zone area. The Horn of Africa nation controls the Bab el-Mandeb (“Gate of Tears” in Arabic) which is a crucial chokepoint at the entrance to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal from the Indian Ocean.

The Bab el-Mandeb is the world’s fourth most frequented maritime route used by some 30,000 ships every year. Also, after the Ethiopia–Eritrea war, Djibouti has become a gateway for 90% of Ethiopia’s imports, a trading volume that accounts for 90% of Djibouti’s port traffic.

In 2018, lowly-populated Djibouti launched the first phase of the project comprising a 240-hectare (593-acre) site. The year before, it had unveiled three new ports and a railway linking it to landlocked Ethiopia, as part of its bid to become a global trade and logistics hub. […]

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