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Djibouti Forum wraps up with promising agreements, optimism about economic prospects

The inaugural Djibouti Forum brought together nearly 400 delegates, including international institutional investors collectively overseeing a staggering $2.5 trillion in assets. Describing the forum as a “resounding success”, Dr. Slim Feriani, CEO of Fonds Souverain de Djibouti (Djibouti’s sovereign wealth fund), noted that it was evident that there “is great and growing interest in Djibouti.”

During the closing ceremony of the two-day event, Feriani signed a memorandum of understanding with Tamini Insurance, part of the influential Salaam Group, a leading financial conglomerate in Djibouti.

Tamini Insurance’s CEO, Mohamed Bahdon, announced that under the agreement, their clients—numbering over 4,000—will now have access to Djibouti’s first crowdfunding platform, Inclufin. Through this platform, Tamini Insurance clients can invest in socially impactful entrepreneurial ventures in the country while earning returns on their savings. “It’s an opportunity for our clients to invest in promising businesses, including startups and SMEs, and contribute to the country’s entrepreneurial future,” he said.

The Djibouti Forum also witnessed the signing of an agreement between PAIX Data Centres, a prominent data center solutions provider, and Djibouti’s sovereign wealth fund to establish a cutting-edge, cloud-and-carrier-neutral data centre in the country.

This deal introduces a new player to Djibouti’s data centre sector, which currently hosts only Wingu, and is expected to deliver benefits to customers in terms of innovation, pricing and reliability. The soon-to-be-constructed facility, named JIB1, will encompass approximately 50,000 square feet of net usable space and offer up to 5 megawatts of critical power. The first phase is slated to launch in 2026.

Having both Wingu and PAIX in Djibouti will create critical mass in data centres in the country and fast track its ambitions to become a digital economy hub.

“PAIX’s investment in JIB1 positions it at the crossroads of connectivity between Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia” PAIX CEO Wouter van Hulten said. “The strong network hub that is created by the aggregation of multiple undersea cable landing points connecting to terrestrial cables makes Djibouti a highly attractive gateway.”

Feriani expressed confidence that the first Djibouti Forum had laid the groundwork for future deals in additional sectors. He invited international partners in attendance to join forces with the country’s sovereign wealth fund to unlock the country’s promising economic potential. “To achieve our goal of doubling the economy in ten years, consistent 7% growth is essential. This can be achieved through mutually beneficial partnerships and economic diversification.”

The two-day forum included panels on various topics such as ports, logistics, technology, connectivity, energy, tourism, financial services, and agro-processing. Additionally, it facilitated lively discussions among leading economists, policymakers, and investors about the macroeconomic landscape in Djibouti and Africa.

Speaking on the macroeconomic outlook for Africa and Djibouti, Dr. Sampawende Tapsoba, Deputy Chief Economist & Director, Data Management & Model Development, Afreximbank, acknowledged that the country of 1.12 million people was punching above its weight. “Djibouti is growing faster than many African economies and has comparatively lower levels of debt-to-GDP,” he said, emphasizing that low levels of debt meant that Djibouti has the fiscal room to meaningfully invest in transformative sectors of the economy.

Charlie Robertson, Head of Macro Strategy, FIM Partners UK, delivered the closing remarks at the forum. “The three things that stood out for me in this forum are ambition, opportunity and safety,” he said. “The leadership’s ambition in Djibouti is palpable,” he observed, saying that Djibouti is a safe country that remains a beacon of stability in a volatile neighborhood.

The Djibouti Forum was hosted by the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Djibouti (Fonds Souverain de Djibouti), a fund created in March 2020. It is today under the stewardship of CEO, Dr. Slim Feriani, a former Tunisian Minister with over 30 years of experience in international capital markets.

 

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