Suluta Eco-City project begins

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The implementation of Sululta town and the sounding eco-city project studied through an initiative of Nestle Waters Ethiopia and the Water and Land Resource Center (WLRC) of Addis Ababa University will cost USD 70 million.
The study involved over 20 high profile experts. Nestle provided USD 170,000 and about USD 50,000 came from WLRC. The project will be finished within two years.
Gete Zeleke (PhD), Director General of WLRC and coordinator of the integrated landscape management and protection for upper Sululta watershed project, said that integrated water management projects usually are done in rural areas. This one, however is being integrated in the town of Sululta, 28 km north of Addis Ababa.
He told Capital that the project’s main objectives include changing the livelihood of peasants in the target market of the capital, ensuring the sustainability of production in the area, building an eco-city, establishing a solid and liquid waste management system, and improving social services.
“The city would be a model eco city which would facilitate a solid and liquid waste management system, create green infrastructure, affordable road networks and other basic infrastructure, not only for Ethiopia but for the continent,” he added.
According to Gete, this type of project is the first public private partnership project of its kind. “Several business people have been socially responsible but there is have not been organized, significant projects undertaken jointly by the government in collaboration with the private sector,” he added. This is a big initiative taken by Nestle. Now some big companies like Habesha Beer and Heineken are interested in following Nestle’s approach. He said that they are interested in supporting the Sululta project and similar initiatives in their investment areas at Gelan and Debre Birhan.
The current situation at Sululta, which is the major center for bottled water industries and other factories and agricultural investment, is facing an alarming situation, which should be immediately corrected.
The project study recommended that the wetland should be protected properly, expanding green recreation areas, improve forestation, developing organic horticultural and diary production, and protecting the grassland.
The project coordinator stated that political commitment is crucial to implement the project and the regional government and city administration are committed at the current level. “In the future political commitment is needed besides mobilizing the huge investment amount,” he stated.
The project will take three five year periods and the finance is expected to be mobilized as of this year. A consortium is expected to be formed to manage the financial mobilization process. “Potential financers have given the green light to fund the project but we have to work aggressively to undertake the designed project as per the projection period,” he said.
On the project launching event that was held on Wednesday April 16 at Sheraton Addis, Rosa Umer, Mayor of Sululta, stated that the city administration and Oromia region has taken project as priority and expressed that the regional government apparatus is committed to realize the project.
Sululta is the major training centre for well known athletes. Most of Ethiopian prominent athletes spent their morning training time at the hill of the town, while some popular athletes are using some of the facilities there. Rosa said that the city administration want to make Sululta the global training destination for athletes.
The Sululta landscape covers 14,400 hectare and the project would have several social and economic benefits including expanding production and create more jobs at the developed areas, according to the study.
Nestle became a major shareholder of Abyssinia Springs in May 2016 and is conducting this activity to promote corporate responsibility. It has 51 percent shares in the Abyssinia Springs Water.