Parliament Paves the Way for Special Economic Zones

Apr 21 , 2024

Lawmakers approved a proclamation aimed at overseeing the development and administration of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), which are envisioned as an expanded and integrated version of industrial parks. Drafted by the Ethiopian Investment Commission, the proclamation sets minimum capital requirements at five billion Birr with the primary goal to catalyse the manufacturing sector by attracting higher investments and optimising logistics operations. The oversight will be entrusted to the Ethiopian Investment Board, chaired by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD). It includes key figures such as Hana Arayaselassie, the commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission; Mamo Mihretu, governor of the central bank; Ahmed Shide, minister of Finance; Fitsum Asfaw, the minister of Planning & Development, and Girma Birru, the senior economic advisor to the Prime Minister. Despite past failures, including underperformance in industrial parks where export revenue has fallen short of initial investment costs, the government aims to revitalise the sector through the SEZ framework. Under the new proclamation, ambitious projects like the Dire Dewa Free Trade Zone, located 445Km east of Addis Abeba on a 150hct plot, will fall within its purview. The larger Geda Special Economic Zone, situated 65Km from the capital in an area shared by Mojo, Adama, and Shashemene, will be included. It has a developed area spanning 5,000hct, representing a fifth of its intended size.


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