China Unicom's information and communication technology service links China, Africa and South America. (China Daily Photo)
A promising business district for trade, communications and logistics, the Djibouti International Free Trade Zone, co-built by China Merchants Group, aims to boost economic collaboration and friendly relations between China and African countries, according to local officials.
Aboubaker Omar Hadi, chairman of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority, said at the launch ceremony of the zone on July 5 that Djibouti is moving toward the next stage of its national development, thanks to the DIFTZ.
"We are building a global, modern and sustainable trade hub for the coming decades. Djibouti's strategic location makes it an important gateway to dynamic African markets," he said.
The event was attended by Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, president of Somalia; Omar al-Bashir, president of Sudan; Ismail Omar Guelleh, president of Djibouti; Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda and chairman of the African Union; Abiy Ahmed, prime minister of Ethiopia; and Moussa Fakki Mahamat, the chairman of the African Union Commission.
The zone facilitates African people's yearning and hope for a better future and is a demonstration area for China's goal in achieving a win-win solution under the Belt and Road Initiative, said one official.
Hu Jianhua, vice-president of China Merchants Group, said he is confident that the trade zone will be successful.
"CMG is open to share its Port-Park-City model experience, the PPC model, which it gained in the 40 years of development of Shekou in Shenzhen. Djibouti is our top priority based on mutual trust. I'm confident that the Port-Park-City model will be successful in Djibouti," he said.
Hu said the DIFTZ will not only accommodate ever-growing demands in logistics but also cultivate export processing manufacturing, thus providing sustainable incentives for development in Djibouti and for the rest of its inland partners.
As a leading State-owned enterprise based in Hong Kong, CMG was founded during the Westernization Movement in 1872 and it was the first Chinese to go abroad.
Dating back some 140 years, CMG has left its footprint in San Francisco in the United States and in London in the United Kingdom.
Today, CMG has become a world-leading port service provider in 20 countries and regions, and has invested in 53 ports across the world including the Port of Lome in Togo, Djibouti Port and the port of Lagos in Nigeria.
CMG will largely improve port management and boost the local economy. In Djibouti, CMG has built modern ports in cooperation with the local government and developed industrial parks and commercial centers covering businesses, hotels and tourism.
In the future, CMG plans to expand its services and businesses in Togo and Tanzania and share more of China's economic achievements with the African people.
Africa was a key part of the Silk Road in ancient times and is an extension of today's Belt and Road Initiative.