His Excellency President Ismail Omar Guelleh was overwhelmingly re-elected as the President of the Republic of Djibouti for the fourth term on 8 April 2016. The election was widely hailed by regional and international organizations and observers as peaceful, free, and transparent. The President’s resounding victory rewards a tireless commitment to serving the Djibouti people, and it is also the achievement of an exceptional campaign whose brilliance and high tone demonstrated the vitality of Djiboutian democracy.
Political democracy took roots in the country since the revision of the constitution in 1992 and institution of a broad multiparty system. Thanks to the 2013 legislative elections and introduction of proportional representation, opposition parties are represented in the National Assembly. Moreover, since the first regional elections and political decentralization in 2006, the big regions of the country (Djibouti City, Arta, Ali-Sabieh, Tadjourah, Obock and Dikhil) are administered by local councils. It is a list of the Civil Society that won in Djibouti City and its three councils during the 2011 regional elections.
Women and Socio-economic Development
Since the implementation of the National Strategy for the Integration of Women in 2002, the involvement of Djibouti women in economic and social activities has been constantly improving. Grouped under national associations such as the Djibouti Women’s Union (UNFD) and Atou Yoo Fan, or regional or local associations, Djibouti women invest so much in awareness campaigns to fight against HIV/AIDS, illiteracy, MGF, etc.
Encouraged by the political will of the President of the Republic, Djibouti women broke open the doors of the National Assembly in 2003. Recently, the Government passed a law granting 20% to women in top administrative positions.
Since the National Social Development initiative was launched in 2007, Government authorities scaled up the fight against poverty to national priority. A budget of 2 billion francs is allocated each year to the different social infrastructures that highly impact the living conditions of beneficiaries. Thanks to this policy, the Republic of Djibouti was acknowledged by the FAO for respecting the United Nations millennium engagements on poverty reduction.
The Republic of Djibouti is rich in emotions for visitors in quest of sensations. The French poet Arthur Rimbaud in 1886 had described the mineral beauty of Lake Assal as a “lunar landscape”. Until today this site is a sumptuous decor for onlookers watching along the ice raft the salt caravan travelling along the Ethiopian table lands. Travelers can also dive without flippers into the Arta beach to meet whale sharks that are very common in the region during the warm season (October to March). Travelers will be totally immersed in the Nomadic lifestyle with the Nomads in Bankouale, Day and Assamo. Using a 4x4 they can travel to Lake Abbe and enjoy the decor of the early days, which was used to introduce Nicolas Hulot’s Titanic syndrome. Lastly, those fascinated by the Read Sea will enjoy the beaches of Tadjourah and Obock, deep dive in the “Blue Lagoon” in the Moucha and Maskali Islands.
Like many countries that attended the Cop21 in Paris in 2015, the Republic of Djibouti has made strong commitment in the fight against global warming.
One of the key commitments is reducing greenhouse gas by 40% by the year 2030. The country envisages to mobilize USD3.8 billion to honor this commitment. In addition to this measure, Government authorities project to intensify investments in renewable energy in order to achieve 100% green power generation by 2020.
To meet this objective, the country has launched major projects in renewable energy, notable solar-power, wind-powered and hydro-powered generation. 1000MW is the estimated geothermal capacity of this country found on the East African large rift.
Investing in Djibouti
The Investment Code
Promulgated by law No. 58/AN/94/3rd L of October 16, 1994, the Investment Code of Djibouti has fiscal and non-fiscal advantages for the investors, be they national or foreign.
Djibouti imposes no joint-venture operation with a national citizen in order to invest:
- The business legislation establishes a legal equality between local and foreign investors;
- Any investor can freely repatriate profits without restriction, etc.
- The Tax Benefits
For an investment of a minimum amount of DJF5,000,000 (~USD28,000), an investor shall benefit from the advantages of Regime A, which are the following tax exemptions:
- Exemption from Domestic Consumption Tax and Import Taxes for the materials necessary to the realization of its investment programs as well as the raw materials imported and used effectively during the first three;
- For a minimum amount investment of DJF50,000,000 (~USD281,000), an investor shall benefit from the advantages of Regime B, which are the following exemptions:
- Exemption from land tax for the construction of buildings during a 7 year period;
- Tax exemption on the professional benefits of licensed activities, during a maximum period of seven years;
- Exemption from Domestic Consumption Tax for raw materials, imported and used during the first fiscal years;
- The approved investments in accordance with the provisions of the Regime B can be exempted from the tax on building permit.
- The Tax Regime in Free Zone
- Any individual and company operating in free zone is subject to any direct or indirect taxes including income tax, except for the VAT, the companies in the free zone are subject to the provisions laid down in the General Tax Code.
- This tax exemption is granted for a period of up to fifty years from the start of the initial license issue date;
- The goods imported or manufactured in the free zone are exempted from any customs duty and other taxes, unless they enter the Republic of Djibouti customs territory. Therefore, sale of goods on the local market is subject to the payment of all applicable customs duties and taxes.
Mega Projects in Progress
The Government is nurturing its ambitious vision of making Djibouti a regional hub. Major infrastructure projects have been launched to the tune of 14 billion francs. Some of these projects, such as the Port of Tadjourah, the North corridor to relieve Ethiopia via the Balho-mekhele road, the ore-carrier port of Lac Assal, and the Djibouti-Addis Ababa railway are under completion. Other major projects such as the Multipurpose Port or the International Airport are scheduled for 2017 and 2018. It is that some 340,000 jobs will be created under these major projects over 10 years.
Djibouti is moving towards a new form of development. The development project entitled “Vision 2035” spells out the new strategic guidelines centered on five major paradigms. These are:
- Promotion of peace and national unity;
- Good governance;
- Economic diversity and competitiveness;
- Human capacities building;
- Regional integration
Within this framework, high-impact projects will focus on the pillars of our national economy, tourism, education, fishery or even new technologies. Government authorities are banking on a diversification of the economy, which is currently monopolized by activities centered exclusively on ports, transport and logistics. The objective is to significantly reduce unemployment. The ambition of “Vision 2035” is to transform Djibouti into an emerging economy in 20 years.