By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
November 24, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – The joint technical committee of Ethiopia and Sudan Tuesday has approved an agreement to establish free trade zone between the two countries in a bid to strengthen economic ties.
- A road leading to Ethiopia-Sudan border (Photo Jamminglobal.com)
The approval is a follow-up to a previous joint technical committee meeting in Khartoum where the two neighbours reach an initial agreement to establish free trade zones based on mutual interest.
Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister for Finance and Economic Cluster and Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Debretsion Gebremichael, told reporters that a Joint Committee drawn from both countries has been formed to conduct a study on ways of implementing the agreement within the next three months.
When implemented the free zone will generate investment opportunities and further enhance trade exchange.
It was disclosed that currencies of the two countries will be used in the free trade zone.The joint commitee, the Ethiopian minister said will also be tasked to undertake a study on ways of filling the gap on the use of currency.
The two countries have also agreed to open commercial banks on their respective capitals, a matter that the joint t technical body will consider the best ways to implement within the slated period of time.
Sudanese vice-president Hasabo Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, said the trade zone will further bolster the longstanding historical and economic ties of the two countries and expressed commitment to implement the agreement accordingly.
Ethiopia and Sudan have already signed cooperation agreements on trade, investment, energy, security, air transport and other social aspects, among others.
They also have a joint project in progress aimed to link their borders with rail ways which is believed to boost their trade volume and people to people relationships.
It is to be recalled that land transport service between the two neighbours has been launched in April last year.
According to the Ethiopian ministry of tourism, Sudan stands 7th, next to USA, China, UK, Kenya, Italy and France in sending tourists to Ethiopia.
About 513 Sudanese companies with a combined capita of 37 billion birr capital are currently engaged in various investment sectors in Ethiopia.
During the joint technical committee, the two countries have expressed commitment to improve economic integration in the horn of Africa’s region.