Ethiopia’s town of Batu which is known for its Lake Zway, has invited both foreign and local investors to take advantage of the opportunities the town is offering and open lodges along the lake.
“We have prepared land to welcome businesses engaged in hospitality to come and invest in lodges along the shores of Lake Zway,” said Nebi Gudeta, Batu (Zway) town Deputy Mayor and Industry and enterprise office head.
“We have prepared 17.1 hectares (over 170,000 square meters) of land along the Lake Zway, which can be used by investors for building lodges. So far we haven’t been able to fully utilize our tourist potential, which includes five islands on the Lake Zway, birds and the greenery that people love to see. We have now decided to accept serious investors in the hospitality sector who can start their investment right away,” he told NewBusinessEthiopia.com in an exclusive interview.
Recently the town administration has taken back many hectares of land from investors who have failed to start their investments. Batu town administration has decided to take back the land from investors because they have been holding the land for many years, while some were engaged in selling the land to third party.
Such acts of fake investors have been depriving the growth of the town and to give it to serious investors who can start investment quickly, according to Deputy Mayor Nebi, who stated that the recent opening of Haile Resorts in Batu is increasing the tourist flow of the town.
The annual investment of Batu town on infrastructures, which was around 21.8 million birr past five years ago, has increased to 45.1 million birr last year concluded July 7, 2019, according to the deputy mayor.
He further stated that the peace ad tolerance among the different communities living in the town is the biggest asset Batu town offers to both investors and tourists.
“The growth has been progressive for instance we started by building 2.6 kilometers of cobblestone roads five years ago. But last year we built 10.9 kilometers of cobble stone. This year we have allocated a total budget of 57.6 million for the infrastructure projects,” he said, indicating that SMEs with hundreds of members have also been able to get jobs on the infrastructure development projects of the town.
The investments for the current fiscal year include 12 kilometers cobblestone road, greening parts of the town, street lights, water and construction of G+4 building and sheds that can be used by the youth, who will start their own micro and small enterprises using the investment loan the town is providing, according to the deputy mayor.
Batu is located in Oromia region 160 kilometers south of the capital Addis Ababa. In addition to Lake Zway, the town of Batu is also known for its hosting one of the biggest prisons of Ethiopia, which is estimated to occupy over 152 hectares of land.
“This is very huge and it would be good if they give the town a portion of that land so that we can use it for other investments and creating jobs for the growing number of population of the town,” says Ababu Gudetu, representing Batu Investment Bureau.
The deputy mayor stated that excluding the community participation, the town is expected to mobilize 20% of the total investment of the infrastructure developments including maintenance cost.
The rest of the investment is covered by UNNDP as Batu is among the towns of Ethiopia being supported by the UNDP. In recent years Batu town has also known for hosting the biggest flower farm in Ethiopia – Sher Ethiopia, which is owned by a Dutch investor.