ADDIS ABABA, — Ethiopia and Sudan have announced that implementation of their Joint Action Plan (JAP), which includes the establishment of trans-boundary special economic zones (SEZs) is gathering momentum as the twoy translate agreements into actions.

Representatives from the two neighbouring countries convened in Addis Ababa for the 4th Ethiopia-Sudan Joint Economic Committee Meeting which began Wednesday and it was disclosed during the opening session that the two sides had come a long way in the right direction with regards to implementing the JAP.

Sudanese State Minister for Finance Abdul-Rahman Dirar cited some of the milestones attained in the plan including the establishment of trans-boundary SEZs, for which a Joint Project Office was set up in Addis Ababa to conduct feasibility studies for its proper functioning.

Encouraging steps have also been taken to link the two nations with landlocked Ethiopia poised to make increased use of Sudanese ports and the planned development of railway infrastructure, while the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia is about to start operations in Sudan.

“We have already established economic zones and now we are expected to embark on the feasibility study for these special economic zones,” said Ethiopian State Minister of Industry Mebrahtu Meles during the opening session.

He confirmed that a committee had been formed to oversee the proper implementation of the action plans including the flagship projects to facilitate future economic integration between the two nations.

According to the Ethiopian official, the JAP, with its established time frame and measureable activities, would enable the countries to move in the right direction in their co-operation.

Ethiopia imported some 100,000 tons of fertilizers through Port Sudan last year, and there is a plan to import 250,000 tons of fertilizers this fiscal year via the same route.

A feasibility study has been finalized to implement a single border crossing between the two countries to boost trade and combat cross border crimes.

“We are going to discuss the co-operation between the two countries in the field of investment, how to make it easy for Sudanese investors and Ethiopian investors to invest in the two countries,” said Abdul-Rahman Dirar.

The two historically linked nations are further deepening their relations with plans to co-operate in Customs procedures and matters as well.

Source: Nam News Network