JOINT PRESS RELEASE The African Union, Ministry of Trade and Industry ofEthiopia, and AeTrade Group announce that the regional headquarters of the AeTrade Group for East Africa has been awarded to the Government of Ethiopia Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 7, 2021 – The African Electronic Trade Group, the A-eTrade Group, which also includes the African e-Commerce Development International, today announced that it has accepted the offer of the Government of Rwanda and the Government of Ethiopia to host the continental headquarters and East African regional headquarters respectively. The African Union and the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the government of the FDR of Ethiopia are pleased with the award and welcome this announcement. This announcement is oneof the highlights of the Second Africa Integration Day held on the 7th July 2021. This follows the last announcement exactly two years ago in Niger, Niamey when the Kingdom of Eswatini and theRepublic of Guinea were awarded the regional headquarters for Southern Africa and West Africa respectively. This brings the total number of host governments to four, leaving the regional offices for North Africa and Central Africa (to be decided at later stages). All the Heads of State from these host countries are welcomed as members of the Presidential Advisory Board of the AeTrade Group, a high-level structure to provide strategic oversight and guidance to the work of the initiative with all AU member states. In establishing an office, the AeTrade Group will mobilise significant investments and job creation opportunities in partnership with the Government. After an open and transparent process andinvitation of all AU Member States to express interest which was launched in October 2019, the AeTrade Group has received fourteen written expressions ofinterest and three verbal expressions bringing the total toseventeen countries. After physical and virtual exploratory missions that were held with all the interested countries, and a rigorous review of the offers submitted bycandidate countries, the High-Level Panel recommended Ethiopia to be considered by the AeTrade Group Board of Directors on the 25th June 2021. The AeTrade Group Board met on the 29th June 2021 and pronounced itself on the outcome which is being announced today. “ On behalf of the AeTrade Group, Mr. Mulualem Syoum, CEO and Chairman of the AeTrade Group extend his warmest congratulations to the Government of Federal Democratic Republic ofEthiopia for successfully bidding to host the Eastern Africa regional headquarters of the AeTrade Group. He thanks the Government for the confidence you have placed in the initiative ofthe AeTrade Group and look forward working with all AU Member States in line with the partnership arrangements the Group developed with the African Union to ensure an inclusive approach tobuilding digital capacities (capabilities) at the grassroots levels and to enable SMEs, Women and Youth to be key players in the emerging digital economy in Africa.” The AU Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Industry and Mining, Ambassador Albert Muchanga, also acknowledged the significant progress being made to establish public- private partnerships in support of the implementation of AU regional integration initiatives.
“I also join the AeTrade Group in congratulating the Government of Ethiopia for their successful bid tohost the East African Regional Headquarters and to establish itself as the regional etrade hub for East Africa. We look forward to working with the regional economic communities and the Ethiopian Government to create millions of jobs leveraging digital solutions and enabling policies such as the African Continental Free Trade Area.”
The Minister for Trade of Ethiopia, Honourable Melalu Albel, accepted this award on behalf of Ethiopians with gratitude and committed to provide all the necessary support to ensure that this initiative yields the intended socio-economic benefits forEast Africa and the continent as a whole. “We are ready to promote home-grown solutions to Africa’s problems andbelieve that platforms such as Sokokuu which in kiSwahili signifies “unity”, “large market”, and “central market” shall be the dominant force in the vibrant market place connecting millions of MSMEs to trade out of poverty. We are proud to be associated with this digital capacity building initiative led by the African private sector in partnership with governments. It is a practical demonstration of the huge potential of Africans when we unite and work together.”