Please could you provide a short history and an overview of NIPA's activities?
NIPA has been incorporated in Djibouti since 2001 and is the agency that the government put in place to facilitate inward investment to the country. It provides full advice and support for new or existing local and foreign donors coupled with supportive training for investors and companies alike. We also advise on legal and governmental issues relating to the establishment of companies and land acquisitions for investors. The appropriate information on the business environment, regulation and laws are given and NIPA advocates on behalf of investors for the improvement and facilitation of investment procedures.
Beyond advisory services, how do you assist overseas companies to enter the Djibouti market?
The NIPA is a strong partner and representative of the private sector at governmental level. One way that our agency helps the international investor is in seeking to identify areas and investment projects where public-private partnerships are appropriate, providing links with companies that can act as local partners to foreign enterprises. Our agency also offers the incentives and benefits provided by the Investment Code to local and overseas companies. Foreign investors should see Djibouti as the main gateway to the COMESA market of approximately 34o million consumers.
Have you headed NIPA from the outset?
No. Although established in 2001, the office has only been here since 2003, and I have been the Director General for the last four years. Since then we have been improving our services to benefit private operators. One of the key attractions to investors that encourages them to make use of our services is that most of them, unlike in many other countries, are completely free. Our primary function is to aid the private sector and to help them improve their capacities.
Are there any specific sectors that you have been focused on?
The main areas that we have been responsible for assisting and promoting are the tourism, transport and logistics, fishing, energy as well as telecommunications and finance sectors. Eighty per cent of Djibouti's GDP is based on services and the above-mentioned sectors are highly promising. …