BY ANDUALEM SISAY GESSESSE – The Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, on Thursday launches a 29 billion birr (about $1.028 billion) project that aims to develop and rehabilitate two river streams of the city.
The project aims to enhance the well-being of city dwellers by mitigating river flooding and through the creation of public spaces and parks, bicycle paths and walkways along the river sides. The development will run along the two biggest rivers of Addis Ababa stretching 23.8 kilometers and 27.5 kilometers – all the way through the Mountains of Entoto through Akaki River.
The Addis Ababa River Side Project is an initiative of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia. It aims to face-lift the image of the city and properly utilize the potential of the capital.
“Creating many jobs in the project phase, it will also nurture riverside economies, increase urban tourism, and provide city residents with areas of respite,” according to twits of the Office of the Prime Minister.
The project will be implemented in three years. It is expected to have multiple effects impacting the well-being of its inhabitants and in further enhancing the visibility of the city.
The first phase launches covers the area from Entoto Mountain to National Palace and costing the Addis Ababa City Administration 2.5 billion birr (about $87 million), according to Deputy Mayor Takele Umma. Studies show that Akaki River is one of the most polluted rivers in Ethiopia.
Some the major objectives of the project are:
– Enhance the green coverage and build the image of Addis Ababa City reflecting its name – ‘New Flower’;
– Draw international and domestic tourism to Addis Ababa;
– Facilitate service economies alongside the riverbank and in the public spaces through set up of cafes, restaurants, city tour;
– Increase the real estate value of current and future property development alongside the river project.