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Ethiopia launches construction of Chinese-contracted economic zone

ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) — Ethiopia launched the construction of the Chinese-contracted Gada Special Economic Zone project in the country’s Oromia region on Friday.

During the launching ceremony, the Chinese construction giant, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), and Ethiopia’s Oromia regional state administration, signed a memorandum of understanding for the development of the Lume Free Trade Zone within the Gada Special Economic Zone.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, addressing the event, said that the Lume Free Trade Zone, which will become the second one of its kind after Ethiopia’s maiden Dire Dawa Free Trade Zone, will contribute to the East African country’s socio-economic development.

“We aim to replicate the successes of our agricultural sector in the industrial domain, and the Gada Special Economic Zone serves as a pivotal platform to realize this vision, unlocking the vast potential of our region and nation,” Abiy said.

The free trade zone, once finalized, will be a major source of employment for the country’s burgeoning youth population while also attracting foreign direct investment into Africa’s second most populous nation, he said.

He added that the economic zone will “amplify opportunities for economic growth and development.”

“The Lume Free Trade Zone will work in unison with other industrial parks in Ethiopia to produce synergies, especially in industries such as coffee processing, bamboo and timber processing, machinery manufacturing, and bio-pharmaceuticals,” said Dai Hegen, chairman of China Railway Construction Corporation, the parent company of CCECC.

For the success of the Lume Free Trade Zone, Dai also pledged to bring the best technologies and management skills in the world, combine them with available local resources, and build a comprehensive free trade zone that excels in manufacturing, trade, research and development.

Motuma Temesgen, director-general of Gada Special Economic Zone, said that the free trade zone, situated just 65 km southeast of the capital Addis Ababa, envisages boosting exports, establishing a trade logistics center and attracting foreign investments into Ethiopia.

Source: Xinhua

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