The heads of state of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) will hold their annual summit in Djibouti on November 6th-16th. Comesa was established in 1994 and grew out of the Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern Africa, which was set up in 1981. It aims to promote regional integration through trade development, and the government of Djibouti has seen the event as an opportunity to sell its strategic position to member states and to project itself as a gateway to the Horn of Africa. In particular, it has highlighted the opportunities presented to member states by the completion of the expansions at Doraleh and the establishment of what Djibouti hopes will be Africa's biggest free-trade zone when it opens in 2008. Construction of the five-star Djibouti Palace Kempinski hotel and conference centre, whose opening is timed to coincide with the summit, represents a major investment in promoting Djibouti.