INTERNATIONAL – Ethiopia on Tuesday launched a China-backed riverside green development project that aims to create a beautiful and healthy environment in the capital city, Addis Ababa.
The Addis Ababa riverside development project in its entirety will include the development of 48 hectares of central square, 51.3-km riverside which runs along the two biggest rivers of Addis Ababa.
China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) has contracted to build the first part of the project, which is expected to be completed in mid-2020, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, affirmed his confidence in CCCC's ability to deliver what is billed to be Ethiopia's landmark project.
"This is my immense pleasure to be here, I'm so happy for the support. I'm sure CCCC will deliver in eight months and we will come and see it after eight months, but I personally will follow the project every single day with you guys to deliver as promised," said Ahmed.
Speaking at the project groundbreaking ceremony, Tan Jian, Chinese ambassador to Ethiopia, said the riverside green development project showcases the multifaceted Ethiopia-China ties.
"This riverside green development project showcases your visions, ambitions and great ideas. You emphasize green development in Ethiopia, taking many initiatives including planting of trees."
"You work hard and fast to beautify Addis Ababa making this project a priority. You aim to boost tourism, so that both domestic and international tourists, including Chinese, will come, drink coffee, eat Injera (Ethiopia's staple food), and taste Ethiopia culture," said Tan.
Tan was also keen to emphasize his government's commitment to help Ethiopia develop, without pushing the east African country to acquire more debt.
"I wish to highlight the financing from China for this project is grant, it's not commercial loan and will not increase your debt burden," said Tan.
Liu Dongyuan, Deputy General Manager of CCCC First Highway Engineering Group, said once completed the Addis Ababa riverside green development project will give lots of benefits including environmental benefits.
"The Addis Ababa riverside green project aided by the Chinese government is a new type of environmentally friendly grand project, which is also a people beneficial project". "It will improve the image of Addis Ababa, and will have close attention of the Ethiopian and Chinese government. We will work hard on this project with careful organization ,100 percent dedication and guarantee timely completion with high quality," said Liu.