In the presence of senior government officials, Ethiopia launched its first Free Trade Zone in Dire Dawa today. The Dire Dawa Free Trade Zone is expected to benefit Ethiopia’s entire economy by increasing the country’s import and export trade.
During the inauguration of the Dire Dawa Free Trade Zone, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali stated that such zones are critical for facilitating export and import. He also stated that trade zones like this will be replicated in order to compete with the global trade system.
The Dire Dawa FTZ is one of several Free Trade Zones and Special Economic Zones that will be established throughout the country. The city was chosen for its proximity to ports, market potential, and high cargo gravity, as well as its suitability for multimodal transportation and logistics operations. The industrial park is located 445 kilometers from Addis Abeba on 150 hectares of land. The park, which opened in 2018 with 15 factory sheds, specializes in garment, apparel, and textile manufacturing and currently houses companies from China, Italy, Sri Lanka, and Ethiopia.
Among the contributions this free trade zone is expected to give are:
- Integrating Dire Dawa Industrial Park and dry port with various service-providing institutions
- Reducing logistics time and cost
- Boosting trade competitiveness
- Increasing pace of urbanization and industrialization.
- Increasing foreign trade and FDI flow
- Creating a wide range of employment opportunities,
- Facilitating the transfer of knowledge, and
- Reducing the cost of domestic commodity prices and stabilizing the inflation rate.
In addition to offering banking, insurance, consulting, logistics, and other services, the zone is anticipated to support three fundamental economic activities (manufacturing, importing, and exporting). Companies will also not be subjected to bureaucratic bottlenecks. The zone would also grant benefits for customs charges and contribute significantly to lowering the cost of logistics.
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