By Rahel Asghedom,
The head of the Eritrean Free Zone Authority, Dr. Araya Tsegay, disclosed that Eritrea will construct a new and modern regional port in Massawa, to accommodate vast trading activities. He went on to say that the current port of Massawa would not be sufficient in accommodating the expected massive free zone trade activities.
On August 25, 2001, the Eritrean government has issued a proclamation declaring for the establishment of a free zone in the port city of Massawa. Since then, extensive infrastructural activities have been put in place. Massawa and Assab ports including the air ports and other inlands have been decided to be part of the free zones.
A number of foreign investors have been showing interest to install industrial plants in Eritrea’s free trade zone. Dr. Araya emphasized that the geographical location of the Red Sea, low charges, cost factors and other advantages would initiate foreign investors to invest in the country.
Likewise, the foreign investors are free of custom duties (import and export taxations), they can use any convertible foreign currency, no profit or income taxation is required from the investors. By inclusive of different economic activities, Eritrea’s free zone is anticipated to expand farther than Massawa along the coastal lines. This means, the free zone has to embrace local and foreign investors for its continuity; there has to be a constantly burgeoning free zone that dominates the nation’s economic activities, and all activities across the free zone have to be complimentary. The zone should also not be limited to only one activity (trade Zone, export processing zone, gas and oil free zone, Science and Technology Park, etc …).
He further explained that, the free zone should not only include all activities at once, but also become competitive with neighboring countries engaged in free zone activities.
Once all the requisite infrastructures for the economic free zone are in place and enters into full operation, the opportunity is expected to promote international and national investors, and thus, make the nation’s economy stronger and competitive. The launch of the free zone, beyond enabling the creation of multiple job opportunities and introduction of new technologies, will boost human resources of the nation, create integration with regional and international markets, and manufacture various products using locally available resources.
(Source: Revitalizing The Trade And Industrial Sectors, Eritrea Profile, Page 2, Issue of 30/04/2011)