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07/02/2018 - 17:12hs

Arab Chamber strengthen ties with Djibouti

The organization’s International Business executive, Fernanda Baltazar, visited the country between the end of January and the beginning of February. There’s room for Brazil to supply food products and enter the construction sector.

Fernanda Baltazar/Arab Chamber

Port of Djibouti: logistic drives the economy

São Paulo – The Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerceorganized a technical mission to Djibouti, Arab country in northeast Africa, between January and the beginning of this month. It was the organization’s first mission to the country, with the aim of better understand the local market and gather information to Brazil. The Arab Chamber’s International Business executive, Fernanda Baltazar, had a two-day official schedule in the namesake capital.

According to Fernanda, Djibouti is strategically located in relation to three continents. It’s in Africa, but it’s close to the Middle East (Asia) and Europe. It was focusing on the country’s geographic position that the Arab Chamber planned the mission. The executive says that the local economy is driven mainly due to this localization, since goods that have countries such as Ethiopia, Yemen and Somalia go through the country.

“Djibouti has a services-based economy,” says Fernanda, about the logistic that this flow of products generates in the country. The main transit of goods has Ethiopia as its destination, an African country that has a large population – over 100 million people – and is considered to be one of the most promising economies in Africa. Djibouti has around one million people. And Ethiopia is landlocked.

The Arab Chamber’s executive says that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Djibouti has grown an average of 6% the last few years, a growth percentage similar to Ethiopia’s, driven precisely by the neighbor’s economy. The country is considered to be an important location for the supply of Arab countries facing conflicts, such as Somalia and Yemen.

The strategic zone where Djibouti is located also makes the country an important place for international military bases, which brings to the country a large foreign population and a modern aspect, according to Fernanda. The locals are mainly Muslims.

The Arab Chamber’s executive says that Djibouti holds tourist attractions and is investing in the sector’s development. The most attractive place is the coast of the Gulf of Aden. In addition to the ocean’s natural beauties, the waters of the Gulf of Aden are used for underwater diving.

Djibouti doesn’t have a strong industrial sector and imports practically everything it consumers. Thus, Fernanda believes that Brazilian companies can become suppliers of food to the country and that there’s opportunities in the construction area, due to the infrastructure that has been developed to the tourism and logistic sectors. Odebrecht, a Brazilian company, built the port terminal of DP World in Djibouti.

The Arab Chamber’s International Business executive had a meeting with Groupe Coubèche, holding company of supermarket chains such as Casino and Cash Center, among other businesses. The talks with the group will continue to assess the possibility of Brazilian companies becoming suppliers of products to local retail.

Brazil exported USD 62 million in goods to Djibouti last year, from which USD 35 million were sugar. Also supplied were road machinery, food preparations, vehicles and meat, among other products.

In Djibouti, Fernanda Baltazar attended meetings at the country’s Chamber of Commerce, at the port of Djibouti, and at DP World’s terminal, plus the one with the Groupe Coubèche. She also visited many local supermarkets and promoted in the country the Brazil-Arab Countries Economic Forum, scheduled for April in São Paulo and being organized by the Arab Chamber.

The executive says that the busy schedule of Djibouti’s Chamber of Commerce, with many international visits, was a driving factor behind the Arab Chamber’s visit to the country. Djibouti held its first international trade expo last year, celebrating ten years of the local Chamber.

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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