Vision 2035 a Long-Term Development Plan: For Djibouti's Minister of Economy and Finance, Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh (Pictured below), the Need for Forward Planning Is Imperative. in This Interview with New African, He Describes Vision 2035 and the Challenges and Opportunities That Now Confront the Country
Would you outline Djibouti's Vision 2035 concept and its objectives?
We used to formulate very short-term national policies, sometimes on an annual basis but we realised that there were a lot of challenges ahead and risks on the way. For this reason we needed to plan over a longer period. We accept that we will probably not be able to achieve all our objectives during the current administration, but Vision 2035 clearly sets out the aspirations of the President and his government. We also want to encourage Djiboutian citizens to take ownership of this vision themselves, as they have a key role to play. We believe that with this initiative we are encouraging Djiboutians to achieve their own success in what is now a fast-paced and very competitive new world. The Vision 2035 is also based on the key pillars of encouraging economic integration, good governance and human development. This all means increased communication with the people to inform them of the wider opportunities that are available to them.
Djibouti's economic success is intrinsically linked to the wider region. How would you characterise the relationship with your development partners at this time?
Djibouti has limited resources and a relatively small population. However, Djibouti's location has a key strategic geographic position. As one of our colleagues from the IMF mentioned: "The geo-strategic position of Djibouti means the same thing that oil means to Saudi Arabia."
Of course, this unique location means that we must sustain the momentum regionally to facilitate greater trade and integrate our economies, making sure our neighbours are able to take advantage of our logistics and related services.
For example, Ethiopia has, over the last 15 years, experienced a high rate of growth, and needless to say, the more Ethiopia grows the more the Djibouti economy follows suit.
Djibouti's GDP is linked specifically to the port and other logistical services, which in tandem is connected to the growth of the Ethiopian economy. This is why we are working with the Ethiopians on a long-term vision to ensure Djibouti remains stable, competitive and has access to international markets. This will ensure our relations with Ethiopia continue to flourish as it embarks on its industrialisation drive. One of the key points to their industrial development is that the whole process must be integrated, meaning competitive logistics must be in place, and this is where Djibouti will play a key role.
We are also planning a cross-border industrialisation programme, to add value to our exports. We need to create a cross-border duty-free zone to integrate Djibouti's economy with Ethiopia's and provide a gateway to other economies in the region of commercial interest, such as South Sudan. …