The workshop was held in the capital city, Djibouti. UNCTAD experts discussed the main findings and recommendations of a recently completed Investment Policy Review (IPR) of the country. Government officials, business and civil society representatives, and officials from the Djibouti offices of the United Nations Development Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization attended.
UNCTAD carries out IPRs at the request of developing countries. The Djibouti review provides a comprehensive assessment of the country's investment-related policies, laws, and overall institutional "context" related to investment. It also assesses the character of past foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to Djibouti and analyses their impact in terms of economic and social development. Based on Djibouti's development objectives, the IPR provides a strategy for attracting greater investment.
Considering the country's unique geostrategic location, the report advocates greater "customization" of investment promotion for priority sectors such as transport, logistics, fishing and tourism. It also urges an optimization of institutional resources, notably by strengthening the national investment promotion agency.
In addition, the IPR calls for a streamlining of the institutional procedures for investment promotion in Djibouti. It recommends in particular that a high-level platform be set up for discussion between the public and private sectors on investment matters.
Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, Djibouti's Minister of Economy and Finance, opening the workshop, thanked UNCTAD for the report, whose analysis and recommendations will contribute to designing solutions for reducing unemployment in Djibouti. He underscored the importance of adopting a modern investment code, along with other efforts to create a climate that will allow the business sector in Djibouti to flourish.
The presentation of the IPR was followed by an extended discussion. Participants welcomed proposed measures for improving investment treatment and protection and expressed support for specific proposals to make taxation friendlier for small and medium-sized enterprises. Other topics discussed included land legislation, environmental regulation, and governance issues related to investment.
In closing the meeting, Mahdi Darar, Director-General of Djibouti's National Investment Promotion Agency, expressed gratitude to UNCTAD for what he called "a very useful exercise which will contribute to improving the country's investment promotion capacity."
The IPR is the first step of a programme of technical assistance that is intended to help the country more effectively use foreign direct investment to achieve its development goals. UNCTAD will continue providing support to the Government of Djibouti as it implements the recommendations in the report.