Africa Free Zones meeting opens in Addis Ababa

The 4th annual meeting of Africa free zones opens in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this morning under the theme “Economic Zones – Accelerator for Industrialization in Africa”.

Organized by Africa Free Zones Organization (AFZO) the meeting being held at the African Union headquarters is supported by the Department of Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission (AUC).

The meeting is held during the “Africa Industrialization Week”, organized by the African Union from the 18th to the 22nd November 2019, according to the press statement from AFZO.

The attendees include over 220 delegates representing 43 countries attended this important event, including 60 African economic zones, 30 experts, as well as several representatives of governmental authorities, international institutions and public and private organizations.

Several international speakers representing international and financial institutions such as UNCTAD, UNIDO, UNECA, AfDB etc. shared during this event their expertise on effective means for economic zones development in Africa.

the statement noted that various topics related to challenges and trends of African economic zones were addressed including strategic directions and effective governance model, contribution of economic zones for FDI growth and job creation, importance of logistics competitiveness within economic zones, skills development and training.

The opening ceremony of the Africa Free Zones Organization’ 4th Annual Meeting was cochaired by M. Albert Muchanga the Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission (AUC), Ms Dagmawit Moges the Minister of Transport of Ethiopia, M Mehdi Tazi Riffi the President of the Africa Free Zones Organization.

Serving the development of Economic Zones in Africa AFZO was founded back in 2015 by Tanger Med along with other African economic zones.

Africa Free Zones Organization brings together the leading African economic zones and institutions in charge of the development, management and promotion of economic zones in our continent.

The Africa Free Zones Organization aims to ensure:
– Representation of African Economic Zones at international organisations
– Enhancement and improvement of economic zones attractiveness
– Setting up of tailored model for economic zones development.
The Organization currently has more than 72 members representing 37 African countries.

The statement also indicated that several actions have been organized by AFZO this last year, including:
– 4 regional meetings in several countries including Ghana (Accra), Gabon (Libreville), and Togo (Lomé). These workshops brought together more than 500 participants from 30 different countries.

– Training sessions for members, led by international experts on topics related to economic zones. These sessions benefited more than 200 participants.

– Production of the first comprehensive economic zones database “Atlas Book”, including all relevant information on areas such as macroeconomic data, investment attractiveness, and regulations and laws.

– Establishment of a Knowledge Center including several reports and studies on the economic zones, as well as an interactive exchange platform facilitating the sharing of documentation and best practices.

– Presentation of the “African Economic Zones Outlook” through an analysis of African economic zones, their contribution in attracting FDI and job creation as well as prevailing PPP development models.