Ethiopia to Open First Free Trade Zone Next Month

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Addis Ababa  July 5/2022 /ENA/ Ethiopia has finalized preparations to open its first Free Trade Zone in Dire Dawa next month, Ministry of Transport and Logistics disclosed.

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A panel discussion about the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) to be established in Dire Dawa was held today.

In her opening remark, Transport and Logistics Minister Dagmawit Moges said establishing free trade zone is one of the initiatives set in the 10-year perspective development plan.

According to her, Ethiopia has huge potential to benefit from free trade zones that will have significant role in boosting the entire economy and reducing inflation.

Dire Dawa is selected to be the first free trade zone due to its proximity to ports, market potential and huge cargo gravity as well as suitability for multimodal transport and logistics operation.

The minister urged the private sector to seize this opportunity and engage in the FTZ.

Ethiopian Maritime Affairs Authority Executive-Director, Yehualashet Jemere said the  establishment of the Free Trade Zone is timely and well aligned with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as well as realizing regional integration.

The Dire Dawa FTZ will start operation next month, the executive director said, adding that it is only the beginning that should have been done earlier.

Free Trade Zones will also be established in other parts of the country and Special Economic Zone too, he revealed.  

Logistics time and cost reduction, efficiency, growth in trade competitiveness, attracting FDI, impact on urbanization and industrialization, and boosting the entire economy are among the benefits to be attained from Dire Dawa Free Trade Zone, it was learned.

Yehualashet underscored that Ethiopia should exploit its potential of becoming a major land-linked trade, investment, industrialization and logistics hub in the Horn of Africa.

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