Djibouti, a country with few resources, recognizes the crucial need for foreign direct investment (FDI) to stimulate economic development. The country’s assets include a strategic geographic location, free zones, an open trade regime, and a stable currency. Djibouti has identified a number of priority sectors for investment, including transport and logistics, real estate, energy, and tourism. Djibouti’s investment climate has improved in recent years, which has led to interest by U.S. and other foreign firms. There are, however, a number of reforms still needed to promote investment.
In 2019, according to the UN Conference of Trade and Development, FDI stock represented 52.5% of GDP, up slightly from 52.2% in 2018. Real GDP growth has remained between 5% and a little over 8% per year for the last five years. Inflation decreased to 0.1 % in 2018 then peaked at an estimated 3.3% in 2019 and is expected to decrease in 2020. In recent years, Djibouti undertook a surge of foreign-backed infrastructure loans to posture themselves as the “Singapore of Africa.” Major projects have included a new gas terminal and pipeline to Ethiopia, a new port, improved road systems, a railroad connecting Djibouti and Addis Ababa, and a water pipeline from Ethiopia. In April 2018, the Government of Djibouti presented tax labor, and financial reforms to improve their investment climate.
Djibouti remains below regional and world averages in the World Bank’s “Doing Business” reports but has been steadily improving in recent years from 171 in 2017 to 112 (of 190 countries) in the 2020 ranking. Various business climate reforms were introduced in 2020 with the objectives of improving competitiveness both regionally and internationally. These reforms included starting online registration for companies and the creation of Djibouti Port Community System platform which is a portal that provides a comprehensive set of online services to the business community.
Economic development and foreign investment is hindered by high electricity costs, high unemployment, an unskilled workforce, regional instability, opaque business practices, compliance risks, corruption, and a weak financial sector. The World Bank estimated the government’s public debt-to-GDP ratio was 66.7 in 2019 with a projection of 69.9 % in 2020 which will gradually decrease over the years. The majority of the debt is owed to Chinese entities.
|TI Corruption Perceptions Index||2019||126 of 175||http://www.transparency.org/
|World Bank’s Doing Business Report||2019||112 of 190||http://www.doingbusiness.org/
|Global Innovation Index||2019||N/A||https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/
|U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions)||2018||N/A||https://apps.bea.gov/international/
|World Bank GNI per capita||2019||USD 3,540||http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/
13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics
Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Data not available.
Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment
Data not available.