The country's first free trade zone (FTZ) was inaugurated last week in Dire Dawa, 445km east of Addis Abeba, in the presence of Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed (PhD) and other senior government officials. The FTZ will serve as a hub for import and export trade. It is the first of several FTZs the administration plans to establish across the country. The inauguration comes a month after officials at the Ministry of Transport & Logistics chose Dire Dawa Park as the maiden site for the economic scheme. The authorities say they chose Dire Dawa Industrial Park as the country's first free trade zone due to its proximity to ports, market potential, and suitability for multimodal transportation and logistics operations. The Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC) oversees the Park and a dozen others like it. The state-owned Ethio-Djibouti Railway will provide transportation to the FTZ from and to ports in Djibouti.