Djibouti on Thursday launched Africa's biggest free-trade zone seeking to fully utilize its geographical location among the busiest shipping trade routes.
The free-trade zone is estimated to be capable of handling over $7 billion worth of trade in the next two years.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh said that soon the country "will rise from its position in international trade and commerce boosting our economy".
This, he said, will complement the Addis Ababa-Djibouti cross-border electric railway which was completed in 2016 to ease the flow of goods and services from the rest of the world into landlocked Ethiopia.
Paul Kagame Rwandan President hailed the project, saying this important facility will not only serve Djibouti but also the wider region of our continent".
Similar sentiments were echoed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Somalian President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat, who were among the speakers.
The Horn of Africa nation is located at the mouth of the Red Sea and Suez Canal giving it access to East Africa to Asia for business.
Source: International Islamic News Agency