By Muluken Yewondwossen
The Chinese Import and Export (EXIM) Bank is to finance the stylish Meskel Square-Bole (Africa Avenue) asphalt road upgrading project, which comprises three passover bridges and two road junctions. The project is also expected to commence this budget year after over two years of delay.
Fekade Haile (Eng), General Manager of Addis Ababa City Roads Authority AACRA, told Capital that the authority has agreed to the loan conditions of the Chinese bank EXIM. He said that the loan contract will be concluded in the near future while other sources claim that the finance will be secured within a few months.
Financial problems and lack of interested international contractors that would take local currency for a means of remuneration have been major reasons for the delay, after the Addis Ababa City Roads Authority AACRA canceled its contract with Enyi Construction citing the latter’s inability to undertake such a huge project.
The situation forced the city roads authority to postpone its plan to another budget year as the payment system and lack of sufficient funds meant the project could not be carried out that year. The city roads authority has since then been looking for ways to acquire the foreign currency needed and its efforts with EXIM bank have finally paid off.
Capital has learned that the construction firm that is to undertake the project will be identified until the coming month now that a source of fund has been acquired. Fekade said that EXIM will be involved in the contractor identification process. Other sources have also told Capital that the authority has been negotiating with CRBC, a Chinese construction firm registered in Ethiopia, about the project construction. CRBC is one of the major international contractors that participate in road construction projects in both Addis Ababa and the federal level.
AACRA wants a strong, capable contractor to undertake the project and complete it in a period of one year, because it is the main gate from the international airport.
The Meskel Square-Bole (Africa Avenue) road is a 4.1km long and 40m wide road project. The project design has three passovers in Olympia, Wello Sefer and in front of Worbek Building, with the latter incorporating a 300m long bridge. Near each bypass, there would be side roads on each side as well. Information on how much the project will cost has not yet been made available.