January 04, 2021: Ethiopian Airlines-DHL and African Electronic Trade (AeTrade) Group have partnered to transport historical parcels in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

During the launching ceremony of AfCFTA Start of Trading 2021 on January 1, Ethiopian Airlines CEO, Tewolde GebreMariam said the partnership aimed to invoke the start of trading of AfCFTA market and the operations of the African e-commerce platform in the continent, according to a joint statement issued by the involved partners.

The partnership with the African Electronic Trade Group and DHL is crucial as Ethiopia is a key player in African cargo and passenger transportation, he said.

He stressed the need to boost intra African trade to pave the way for a bright future while fighting Covid-19 pandemic.

“The link between an integrated African Market place, free movement of persons and single air market in Africa can’t be underestimated as it serves as a catalyst for unlocking immense opportunities in Africa for the benefit of Africans and all stake holders,” Tewolde stated.

The CEO further commended leaders of the African Union for their strategic focus on the legal instruments that will make it easier for Africans to travel across the continent freely and do business with each other.

The partnership marked the start of trading under the newly-effective agreement and the operation of the African e-commerce platform named ‘Sokokuu’, which means big market, central market and unity in the Kiswahili language.

Former prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn and Patron of AeTrade Group on his part appreciated the initiation of the Ethiopian Airlines to connect Africa not only through transporting passengers but also transporting parcels under AfCFTA.

AfCFTA, which was launched in March 2018 in Kigali, took effect in the New Year. It has so far gathered 54 African Union member signatories, except Eritrea.The agreement has the potential to boost intra-Africa trade by more than 52 percent by the year 2022, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

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