Addis Ababa August 23/2022/ENA/ Modern and suitable services will be provided at the Dire Dawa Free Trade Zone to improve import-export trade and attract investment, according to Ethiopian Maritime Authority.

The recently inaugurated Ethiopia’s first free trade zone is expected to reduce logistics time and cost, improve efficiency and trade competitiveness, attract more FDI, boost industrialization and  the economy.

Logistics Transformation Office Deputy Director at the authority, Ewnetu Taye told ENA that the  location of the free trade zone will significantly reduce the current time and cost of logistics and improve import-export trade as well as attract many partners and investments.

“We hope the free trade zone under establishment will have many partners because a free trade zone requires huge investment, sophisticated knowledge, huge capital, and foreign currency.”

According to him, foreign currency, easy customs and improved logistics services will be provided at the Dire Dawa Free Trade Zone. “This will attract foreign investors and stimulate FDI.”  

Manufacturers in the existing industrial park, importers and service providers, especially logistics service provider companies are expected to invest, he added.

The deputy director suggested that investors may start work by importing goods and then transform their business to value-added manufacturing and export to help generate foreign currency.

Dire Dawa was selected to host the first free trade zone due to its proximity to ports, market potential, huge cargo gravity, and suitability for multimodal transport and logistics operations.

“Dire Dawa is the nearest location to the Djibouti and Berbera ports. So goods can be transported from the ports to the zone easily in a short time. The city is also connected with the capital city and neighboring ports through asphalt road, train, and air transport. This creates improved logistics.”  

Moreover, the completion of the expressway under construction from Awash to Dire Dawa will link the existing expressways to Addis Ababa and Djibouti.

He further noted that the establishment of the free trade zone would create opportunity for Ethiopian Airlines to transport goods from the free trade zone to other African countries.

“Considering this market, I think Ethiopian Airlines will give a quick response,” the deputy director said. 

Ewnetu stated that the free trade zone would enable Ethiopia to better integrate into a rapidly changing world.

“The trade volume and revenue of Ethiopia with neighboring countries is growing and the integration process is showing progress in recent years; and this free trade zone will further facilitate regional integration.”    

The development of free trade zones in Ethiopia is part of the National Logistics Strategy, he said, adding that the establishment of free zones will change the logistics system and import-export trade.

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