Logistics firm DHL to create venture with Ethiopian Airlines

NAIROBI (Reuters) - DHL Global Forwarding has signed an agreement with state-owned Ethiopian Airlines [ETHA.UL] to set up a joint venture logistics company to serve Africa, the company that is part of Deutsche Post DHL Group said on Friday.

The new venture, DHL-Ethiopian Airlines Logistics Services Ltd, will be based in Ethiopia, the company said in a statement.

“By bundling our global network expertise with Ethiopian Airline’s profound knowledge of the regulatory and operational environment, we are opening up an important access to international trade for Africa’s fastest growing economy,” Tim Scharwath, chief executive of DHL Global Forwarding, said.

Ethiopia has said it is open to selling a host of state-owned firms, either partially or entirely, as part of economic reforms designed to encourage the private business.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has announced a series of shake-ups since taking office in April. However, his government has said it would retain majority holdings in the state-run Ethiopian Airlines, logistics, telecoms and energy companies.

The East African nation of 100 million people has one of the most heavily state controlled economies in Africa.

The ruling EPRDF coalition, in power since 1991, has long supported deep state involvement. But the EPRDF said last month Ethiopia needed economic reforms to sustain rapid growth and boost exports amid a severe hard currency shortage.

Abiy, 41, was appointed by the EPRDF after his predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn, resigned in February after three years of unrest in which hundreds of people were killed by security forces.

Writing by George Obulutsa