#ASDailyScoop: African Export-Import Bank disburses $120 million for Djibouti’s free trade zone project, boosting Ethiopian maritime connectivity

In September 2020, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, the President of Djibouti, initiated the construction of a significant port known as the Damerjog Liquid Bulk Port in Djibouti (Photo: hawilti.com)

Addis Abeba – The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has granted its approval for the disbursement of a financial package worth $120 million for the development of the Damerjog Industrial Development Free Trade Zone, located in Djibouti. The project is expected to yield numerous benefits, not only for Djibouti but also for its neighboring countries, including Ethiopia and Somalia. Of particular importance is the creation of a crucial maritime freight hub, which will serve as a vital gateway for efficient shipping operations in the region.

According to the Bank, the project will be undertaken by Great Horn Investment Holding (GHIH), a company established by the Djiboutian government in 2016 to invest in port and maritime freight development. This announcement was made during the African Union summit ongoing in Nairobi, Kenya.

Since the 1990s, approximately 95% of Ethiopia’s import-export cargo has been passing through the ports of Djibouti, with the remaining percentage divided between Port Sudan and Berbera for shipping operations. According to the latest report by the National Bank of Ethiopia, the country’s annual cargo reaches over 15 million metric tons.

The funding is part of a $155 million dedicated facility for the development of the free trade zone. The purpose of the financing is to complete the Damerjog oil jetty, which will enhance marine connectivity to the free trade zone. Additionally, it will support the construction of a 150,000-cubic-meter storage depot and oil tank farm, as well as cover other project-related costs.

Over the past six years, Afreximbank has played a crucial role in supporting Africa’s engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) market. Through financing and facilitation initiatives, the bank has provided a total of $13 billion in interventions, including over $7 billion in financing for EPC-related projects. AS

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