Chinese contractor CGCOC has been awarded a contract to build the first phase of a $120m convention centre complex in the capital of Ethiopia. When complete, the Addis-Africa International Convention and Exhibition Centre (AAICEC) is expected to cover 11ha and provide a conference venue for up to 5,000 delegates.
The contract was signed in the Addis Ababa Sheraton hotel last week. The work is being financed by the AAICEC’s shareholders, which include the city government and chamber of commerce, the Bank of Abyssinia as well as expatriate Ethiopians living in South Africa. The company is offering more shares to anyone who wants to invest in the scheme.
The project, which was first put forward by the chamber of commerce in 2012, was to have been begun in 2015. This date was postponed after the sponsors struggled to attract enough interest from investors willing to finance it and contractors willing to build it.
Availability of a world-class venue in Addis Ababa is critical for the expansion of business, investment and export in Ethiopia– AAICEC
CGCOC, which was formerly known as the CGC Overseas Construction Group, was chosen out of a shortlist of 10 firms from China and Dubai, as well as major Ethiopian firms Teklebirhan Construction and Afro-Tsion. The firm, which was founded by Chinese state-owned petrochemical group Sinopec, is active throughout Africa, and has previously undertaken large road-building schemes in Ethiopia, as well as a Nile bridge project.
AAICEC said in its brochure for the project that "a world-class convention and exhibition center is one of the key urban infrastructures that Ethiopia is currently missing and which Addis needs to avail to the business community in order to affirm its regional and international position. Availability of a world-class venue in Addis Ababa is critical for the expansion of business, investment and export in Ethiopia."
It adds: "Once the centre is operational, it will generate a great market for hotels, catering facilities, transport operators, airliners, tourist operators and other firms in the service industry as well as an increased market for local products."
The first phase of the scheme will be made up of the centre itself, two exhibition halls, an amphitheatre, offices and restaurants. The second phase will add four exhibition pavilions and the final phase will conclude with a four-star hotel and a shopping mall.
CGCOC’s work is expected to take three years to complete, during which the client hopes that further share sales will provide sufficient finance to keep the work on track. Capital Ethiopia reports that during the first offering 300,000 shares were floated and generated around $32m.
Image: AAICEC’s rendering of the completed complex