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One of the world's fastest-growing economies is rolling out the red carpet for international investors this May. The Sovereign Wealth Fund of Djibouti has just announced the dates of its next Djibouti Forum - Gateway of Opportunities, which will be held from 12 to 14 May at the Djibouti Palace Kempinski.

"This inaugural Forum will showcase the investment potential and opportunities of Djibouti and the African continent. It will bring together CEOs, investors and promoters to foster collaboration among like-minded individuals, catalyze strategic investments for the entire sub-region and facilitate dialogue between the Fund and institutional investors," said the Managing Director of the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Djibouti, Dr. Slim Feriani.

Recent investments in ports and logistics, hospitality and renewable energy are a model for investors. The country's 2035 plan provides a clear roadmap and, under the leadership of H.E. Mr. Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti, the country offers many incentives to private sector actors.

The event is overseen by the pan-African media group, IC Publications, publisher of African Business magazine. High-level speakers will provide key insights to decision-makers looking for opportunities, as well as excellent networking opportunities with other institutional and business leaders in strategic sectors in Africa, Europe, the United States, and Asia.

"According to the African Development Bank, Djibouti's economy is expected to grow by 6.5% this year. There is a clear opportunity to gain a leading advantage in this country that is not only strategically located, but has one of the most sophisticated logistics centers on the continent and with its ten submarine cables, is becoming a hub for data centers and other technology-related activities. The country aims to be 100% dependent on clean energy by 2030. The finance sector offers many opportunities to be seized," says Omar Ben Yedder, Managing Director of IC Publications.

"We have a strong, convertible currency, a stable political and economic environment, and a government that supports us. The country attracted more than USD 2.3 billion in FDI between 2000 and 2020, mainly in the area of infrastructure. This is an opportunity for people to see it with their own eyes and to accompany us on this journey," Feriani added.

Highlights of the Djibouti Forum 2024

  • The power of ports: Located at the crossroads of major shipping routes, Djibouti's world-class ports are essential links in global trade routes. The Forum provides an opportunity to share ideas on how investments in Djibouti's ports can boost economic growth, improve logistics and facilitate international trade.
  • Investing for Tomorrow: The event will delve deeper into Djibouti's key sectors, including logistics, energy, telecommunications, and tourism, as well as the lucrative investment opportunities they present.
  • Uniting continents: Djibouti is a gateway to neighbouring countries on the African continent and the Middle East. The Forum will showcase the unique investment opportunities that arise from it, including the potential for cross-border collaborations and investments, and the promotion of economic integration.
  • A World of Contacts: The event promises extensive networking opportunities, connecting you with high-level delegates, potential partners, and government officials from around the world.
  • Economic growth: The Government of Djibouti is committed to creating an investor-friendly environment. The Forum will highlight progressive policies and initiatives to facilitate foreign investment, ensuring a mutually beneficial relationship between investors and the host nation.

 

Distributed by African Media Agency. for IC Publications

 

Photojournalist Stephen Bean's images chart life in Orania, a 'whites-only' town in South Africa.

An Irish photographer has captured a series of images charting life in one of the world’s most controversial towns, which is attracting criticism for its steadfast refusal to accept black residents.

The trip formed part of a project by Stephen Bean, who is taking pictures to document marginalised societies in a forthcoming book.

Located along the Orange River in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape province of South Africa, Orania was created in 1991, after Nelson Mandela’s release from Robben Island. 

Champions of the Orania project have been accused of carrying on the legacy of apartheid.
Champions of the Orania project have been accused of carrying on the legacy of apartheid. Photo Courtesy

The area owes its existence to Carel Willem Hendrik Boshoff, who died in 2011 and was a professor of theology and an Afrikaner white nationalist.

The community was formed as part of an objective to have a stronghold for the Afrikaner minority group.

 However, champions of the project have been accused of carrying on the legacy of previous architects of apartheid. 

A woman in traditional Afrikaner clothing waits for a parade to start last October in Orania's annual carnival.  Picture: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty
A woman in traditional Afrikaner clothing waits for a parade to start last October in Orania's annual carnival.  Picture: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty/Photo Courtesy 

According to Cambridge historian Edward Cavanagh’s history of land rights on the Orange River, a community of 500 poor black and mixed-race squatters living in that area were driven out in one of the last large-scale evictions under apartheid.

The Guardian reported that future residents of Orania used beatings, pistol whippings, and dogs to drive them out. The town now comprises Afrikaners only — descendants of Dutch, French, and German settlers dating back to the 17th century. Afrikaners later became the predominant culture in South Africa, with ideals that led to the apartheid system based on racial segregation.

 

Children queue at a shop in Orania, a town some perceive as a threat to the successful eradication of apartheid culture.
Children queue at a shop in Orania, a town some perceive as a threat to the successful eradication of apartheid culture. Photo Courtesy

Some South Africans are now calling for the town to be disbanded due to the perceived threats it poses to the successful eradication of apartheid culture.

Cork man Stephen Bean described his experience of the town, which he said is completely cut off from the rest of the world.

I spoke to one person who told me her grandmother believes there are two heavens — one for the whites and a separate heaven for black people. 

 

"This is Calvinist tradition,” he said. “They are very religious. 

“The self-determination of minorities is protected in the South African constitution which means they are able to live like this. They are very much cut off from the rest of the world and pop culture.

“They have a strong focus on self-determination and cultural preservation. Afrikaners are considered indigenous in South Africa. This means they are on a par with the Zulu people, who are the largest ethnic group and nation in the country.” 

Bianca van der Linder, an administrator in Orania, one of the world's few 'whites only' towns.
Bianca van der Linder, an administrator in Orania, one of the world's few 'whites only' towns. Photo Courtesy

He compared the town to a limited company. “When you buy a plot you actually become a shareholder in the company so although it’s a municipality or semi-autonomous municipality, in many ways, it’s like a private company. It’s like becoming a member of staff or a shareholder. The same concept applies to Orania. It even has its own board of directors.”

He said of the residents’ insular existence: “To be honest, I think people in Orania are so focused on their own culture they don’t think outside the box like you and I do. It’s not something I think I could get used to myself but I’m interested in social phenomena.  

The Ora is the local currency of Orania in South Africa.
The Ora is the local currency of Orania in South Africa. Photo Courtesy

"What I found really fascinating about Orania is that they have their own money, the ora. The reason why they have it is because it is only valuable in that particular area. It means that if people want to make money then that money stays in Orania so really they are more like coupons.”

Demand for residency in the town remains high. It has experienced rapid growth in recent years, its population rising by 55% since 2018. As of July 2023, it had a population of approximately 2,800. However, Orania’s town council now has plans to facilitate substantial growth and the population is expected to climb to 10,000 in the coming years.

“They gave me a list showing all the people who have applied for residency and it was really striking,” he told the Irish Examiner. By SARAH HORGAN, Irish Examiner

 

South Sudan’s Minister for Information Michael Makuei Lueth declared that the resolution of critical issues with oil pipelines, including repairs in areas controlled by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), was essential for the survival of the government.

Makuei emphasized the pivotal role of oil revenue, stating that without these repairs, the country’s financial stability would be jeopardized. He underscored the government’s dependence on oil revenue, which currently comprises the primary source of income, far surpassing non-oil revenue.

“Without such interventions, it could have spelled the end of the South Sudan government since oil revenue is our primary income. Non-oil revenue is insufficient, barely covering a third of salaries, let alone other expenses,” Minister Makuei said at a press conference in Juba on Tuesday.

“The decline in oil production resulted from a combination of factors, initially the impact of war and later exacerbated by floods. During the floods, some wells were flooded and remain unrecovered, contributing to the ongoing low production,” he added.

He noted ongoing efforts to work with oil companies to recover affected wells, but success has been elusive. Despite these challenges, he said, the country persists in producing what it can.

Makuei elaborated on the direct impact of the Sudanese war, stating, “The conflict in Sudan directly affected us as our oil, transported through a pipeline to the Port Sudan Red Sea port, is crucial for international market access. The current situation, including the Red Sea blockade, is a global issue, and our government refrains from discussing specific blockages due to conflicts involving the Houthis and counter-offensives by the Americans and their allies.”

He explained, “Houthi actions in the Red Sea, compounded by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict involving Hamas, led to a blockade. The Houthis’ actions prompted intervention from the Americans and their allies, resulting in a blockade and conflict in the region.”

Makuei, who is also the government spokesperson, urged journalists to respect the decision not to delve into current global affairs as contributing factors to the economic challenges faced by South Sudan.

While acknowledging the ongoing decline in oil production, Makuei criticized journalists, stating, “We don’t want to bore you with discussions on the Red Sea or events in Palestine. I assumed you were well-informed about these matters. If not, why did you choose journalism?”

Emphasizing the crisis in Sudan, with parts under the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and others under the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), Makuei highlighted the need for caution in handling situations in areas where South Sudan’s oil pipelines are located. “Any mistake we make will impact us first,” he stressed.

Makuei elaborated, “In case of an oil pipeline issue in the SAF-controlled area, we must coordinate with RSF to access the region for repairs. Similarly, if the issue is in the RSF-controlled area, we need to engage with SAF. This approach aims to avoid hostilities from either side. It’s the politics of the day.”

He continued, “These are matters where we must exercise discretion. We don’t need to disclose our strategies openly, but this is the challenging reality we face. Striking a delicate balance is crucial for our sustained operations. Our freedom is contingent upon finding an alternative oil evacuation route.”

“As long as our oil solely relies on passing through Sudan, we remain vulnerable to conflicts in the region. The instability in Sudan directly impacts our peace. The key lies in establishing another evacuation route for our oil, and hence our strategic plans involving Ethiopia,” Makuei disclosed.

He explained that due to the ongoing crisis in Sudan, South Sudan is considering setting up refineries to export refined petroleum products globally. “We aim to establish oil refineries to export refined petroleum products. However, in the current situation, we must proceed with caution and strategic thinking to ensure our continued stability,” Makuei stated. - Radio Tamazuj

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