Ethiopia’s First Free Trade Zone to be Opened in Dire Dawa

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia is set to open its first Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Dire Dawa city administration, according to the Ministry of Transport and Logistics.

Dire Dawa is selected to host the 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, officials say.

This free trade zone will have a significant role in boosting the entire economy of Ethiopia and reducing inflation, said Dagmawit Moges, Minister of Transport and Logistics.

It will integrate Dire Dawa Industrial park and dry port with various service providing institutions such as Customs during operation, the minister added.

The minister said this today during a panel discussion that deliberated on the role of major major actors in setting up the FTZ and the experience of other countries in operating the free trade zone.  

Such facilities, according to the participants, would help reduce logistics time and cost reduction, while boosting trade competitiveness, FDI flow,  urbanization, and industrialization. 

The Dire Dawa FTZ is one of several Free Trade Zones and Special Economic Zone that will be established in other parts of the country, according to the Ethiopian Maritime Authority.

Authorities have already conducted a feasibility study on the FTZ that corroborated the necessity of creating free trade areas.

The outcome of today’s panel discussion, Logistic minister Dagmawit said, will serve as input in the ongoing preparation to launch the Drie Dawa FTZ “in a short period of time”.

The government also plans to leverage the immense experiences of Ethiopian Airlines in cargo operation and logistics in order to realize the free trade zone’s effective operation in Dire Dawa, said Dagmawit discussing the FTA with Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, Mesfin Tasew, on Monday.

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