“We are a very stable country”
Djibouti enjoys a superbly advantageous strategic location, which it knows
to exploit, both economically as well as politically. For the German business
community, the small country on the horn of africa is still an unknown, a
blank spot on the map. To remedy this, the first djibouti German Business
Conference was held in March. ARAB FORUM was able to query president
Ismaïl Omar Guelleh on his country’s current and future strategy regarding its
neighbors and what is expected of Germany.
Ausgabe 1 / 2014
Interview: Rainer Schubert
Photo: Offical Portrait
ARAB FORUM: Excellency, in March
the first Djibouti German Business
Conference was held. Why is Djibouti
interested in strengthening its business
tied with Germany?
Guelleh: Germany has a big economy
and is, therefore, a natural partner for
economic relations. Its industry is known
for its leading standard in technology.
So it is obvious that we try to improve
and extend our economic relations after
we opened our embassy in Germany two
years ago. Currently, we are realizing a
number of big infrastructure projects,
which will serve to increase economic
activities in Djibouti and in the region.
So we are convinced that there are a lot
of opportunities where German companies
can do business in and with our
country. We thought that this con ference
would be a good start. When Ger man
businessmen come to Djibouti, they can
see with their own eyes the kind of the
opportunities Djibouti has to offer.
ARAB FORUM: The business conference
focused on banking and finance,
energy and water, construction, infrastructure
and logistics, health and
tourism. Are these the fields in which
both countries expect to intensify their
relations? What about education?
Guelleh: These sectors are the main
priorities of our government. But in
addition to that telecommunication is
also very important for us, because we
plan to become a major regional player
in this field.
With regard to education, we have
to understand that we inherited our
educational system from France. It is
there fore very different from the German
system, but equally as well of high
standard. We are very open to new
projects and welcome any chance of
development in the educational system.
We are very interested in the German
dual system in vocational training.
At the moment, we are conducting a
vocational training pilot pro ject in the
field of solar energy in cooperation with
Saarland. We are looking to give young
Djiboutians the opportunity of training
and studying specific fields to have a
greater chance in the business world in
Djibouti. Education is a high priority in
Djibouti, because the young generation
is the future of our country.
ARAB FORUM: What can Djibouti offer
to the German business community?
Guelleh: We are a very stable country
that is located in a very important strategic
position. Germany, on the other
hand, is one of the leading ex porting
nations, which has one of the biggest
commercial fleets. Since three quarters
of the goods that go to and from Asia
and Europe pass the Red Sea, which is
directly on our doorstep, I think both of
our countries will profit from good and
close economic and diplo matic relations.
Until now, almost no German companies
have been present in Djibouti, maybe
two or three. But, as I said before, because
of our geographic position with
regard to world trade routes and the
many infrastructure projects currently
under way, I think we can offer a lot
of business opportunities to German
companies and investors. And that is
why we organized this conference: to
invite German business people to come
and see the opportunities we have
to offer. They should bid for tenders
and take part in the competition. For
example, consulting and energy are
areas where particularly German companies
would be highly welcomed to
work in Djibouti.
Lesen Sie das komplette Interview in ARAB FORUM 1/2014