Djibouti hosts global port leaders to confront the sector’s current challenges and share solutions

The second African Ports Forum took place this week on 9-10 November in Djibouti in a hybrid format, bringing together more than 350 people from almost 25 countries, with 105 joining in person and over 250 participants joining virtually.

The Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority was proud to be an official partner of the event, alongside TangerMed S.A., Proparco, and SSATP, who worked together to ensure the success of this year’s forum.

The forum marked a major moment for ports in Africa, as leaders from the continent and around the world shared knowledge and expertise and discussed key challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

An event strengthening Djibouti’s role as a leading maritime and trade hub

The event confirmed Djibouti’s role as a regional and global trade and logistics hub, highlighting the country’s geostrategic position and showcasing its world-class ports and rapidly-developing infrastructure.
During an opening speech at the forum, Chairman Hadi of DPFZA said:
“This year’s event is taking place in a particular context. The COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on the global economy and trade. The World Bank predicts that the global economy will contract by $4,200 billion between 2019 and 2020. In the face of unprecedented challenges, ports in Africa have been vital to ensuring that essential operations and trade can continue during the pandemic and will be key to facilitating sustainable economic recovery.”

Strengthened partnerships, improving connectivity and enhancing digitalisation will be key to driving forward the development of African ports

Participants emphasised the importance of strengthened partnerships to limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and of continued knowledge-sharing at a continental and international level to facilitate ongoing development of the sector.
Discussions highlighted the key role of African ports in working together to connect Africa’s landlocked countries to global trade, as well as the importance of improving trans-continental connectivity, including road, rail and air links, to facilitate regional integration and intra-African trade.
While there has been significant progress in recent years, speakers also stressed the need for more strategic investment in infrastructure to improve the competitivity and performance of Africa’s ports.
Accelerating digitalisation of the sector, particularly in the context of COVID-19, was another key point of discussion. The Djibouti Ports Community System, an electronic platform that provides a single submission facility for the ports community, was noted as a prime example of how digital tools can optimise efficiency and cost-effectiveness in African ports.

Source: Government of Djijbouti

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