Investors wary of developing Meskel Square


The Addis Ababa City Administration invites local investors to be part of the upgrading of the Addis Ababa Exhibition and Market Development Enterprise Centre, the upcoming Pan Africa Convention Exhibition Centre, expansion project, while investors claim access to land in the city should be applied properly.
At a closed door meeting held at the Sheraton Addis on Monday evening, Takele Uma Deputy Mayor of the city explained the project that the government is planning to implement at Meskel Square, according to sources who attended the short meeting.
At the meeting Takele told the estimated 350 investors that the local investors shall come with their own project ideas to get involved in the endeavor that may expand to 22 hectares at the heart of the city from the original study of plot of 12 hectares. The project has been designed by Fira de Barcelona, a Spanish company, at a cost of 350,000 euro.
The Mayor said that the exhibition centre is a single element of the total vision but the area is an ideal land that shall be expanded at the surrounding area of 22 hectares. “So the area would have its own master plan and the developer would come with their own idea. It could be a mall, real estate, hotel whatever you call it, which is profitable for you,” he explained.
“At the city level we will develop ten villages and so far some villages by Chinese and UAE investors at Gotera and Lagahar commenced, which is almost adjacent to the exhibition center,” the Mayor said.
He said that the project at Lagahar will cost USD 1.9 billion and the Chinese project, which is called Addis Tomorrow, is USD 3 billion, “but this one should have more investment since the actors are several local investors that come with massive small projects,” he explained. He said that some foreign companies showed interest in being part of the project but the city government prefers to include the local investors.
Some of the participants expressed their confusion about the meeting that they criticized for being disorganized.
They argued that it may be a tactical retreat from the claim that investors are saying the administration is not providing plots.
Since becoming a Mayor land transfer through lease has been suspended. “At the same time,” claimed the investors who attended the event, “the city administration is providing plots for very few individuals or companies without a clear process.”