ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian Airlines-DHL and the African Electronic Trade Group (AeTrade Group) unveiled their partnership to transport historical parcels under a new intra-Africa agreement on Friday.
"The partnership is meant to invoke the start of trading of the African Continental Free Trade Area market and the operations of the African E-Commerce Platform in the continent," according to a joint statement issued on the New Year's Day by the involved partners.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, which was launched in March 2018 in the Rwandan capital city of Kigali, took effect on Friday. It has so far gathered 54 African Union member signatories, except Eritrea.
The first batch of the two group's goods arrived at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on the day at a ceremony attended by high-level representatives from the public and private sectors, the African Union (AU) Commission, Dalsey Hillblom Lynn (DHL) and Ethiopia's flag carrier Ethiopian Airlines.
In July 2018, the Ethiopian Airlines Group and DHL Global signed an agreement to form a logistics joint venture based in Ethiopia to do business in the entire continent of Africa as well as around the world.
"Working in collaboration with African Union (AU) Commission and the African business community with a vision to enhance intra- and inter-African trade, the African Electronic Trade Group transports fragile trophies to various African countries as AfCFTA commences," the statement said.
The smooth and reliable connection between the source and the final destination is possible because of the partnership between Ethiopian Airlines and AeTrade Group, it noted.
The new partnership joins the existing partnership between Ethiopian Airlines and DHL that has strengthened the multimodal logistics systems established by the Ethiopia's flag carrier at its hub in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.
So far, the fragile goods have passed through the Kingdom of Eswatini, South Africa and Ethiopia, which have signed and ratified the AfCFTA Agreement, according to the Ethiopian Airlines.
"The link between an integrated African marketplace, free movement of persons and the single air market in Africa cannot be underestimated as it serves as a catalyst for unlocking immense opportunities in Africa for the benefit of Africans and all stakeholders," said Tewolde Gebremariam, Group CEO of the Ethiopian Airlines.
Gebremariam also commended the AU leaders "for their strategic focus on the legal instruments that will make it easier for Africans to travel across the continent peacefully and do business with each other."
"I believe that the partnership with The African Electronic Trade Group and DHL is crucial, as Ethiopia is a key player in African cargo and passenger transportation. While fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to work to boost intra-African trade to pave the way for a brighter future," he said.
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.
The items produced in Eswatini and transported to various destinations across the continent symbolize Africa's readiness to exchange goods originating in this marketplace from the first day of trading.
The African continent on Friday started trading under the AfCFTA Agreement.
The accord offers new hope and continental exhilaration in terms of boosting intra-African trade, and eventually facilitating Africa's development and industrialization.
The African free trade 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. Enditem