A Qatari property company is planning a luxury tourist resort in the heart of Ethiopia’s capital, and says it has the strong support of Ethiopia’s prime minister.
Ezdan Holding Group, chaired by Qatari royal Dr. Khalid bin Thani bin Abdullah Al Thani, wants to capitalise on Ethiopia’s strong economic prospects by building a resort in Addis Ababa covering 150,000 sq m.
Prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn expressed "strong support" for the plan in face-to-face meetings in Ethiopia, Ezdan said on 31 January, and promised to "resolve any obstacles or challenges that may be faced" by the scheme.
Sheikh Dr Khalid led a delegation of senior Ezdan figures, other businessmen and Qatar’s ambassador to Ethiopia to discuss investment opportunities there.
They also held talks with Addis Ababa’s mayor, Diriba Kuma, to explore ways of fast-tracking the project.
With nearly 3.4 million inhabitants, Addis Ababa covers an area of around 530 sq km. Currently suffering a severe drought, Ethiopia is Africa’s second most-populous country and enjoyed annual GDP growth averaging nearly 11% over the ten years to 2014, according to the World Bank.
Ezdan gave no details for the resort scheme except to say it will have "high-quality technical specifications in terms of facilities and services which will contribute in raising the quality of real estate products available in the Ethiopian market".
Khalid said Ezdan will "intensify its efforts in the coming period, in cooperation with the Municipality of Addis Ababa, to choose the appropriate location for the project".
If the resort goes ahead it will be the first project in Ethiopia for Qatar, a major exporter of oil and gas.
Photograph: An aerial view of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, which is spread over approximately 530 sq km (Hansueli Krapf/Wikimedia Commons).
â€¢ Edited on 9 February 2016 to correct the area of the proposed resort from 150 sq km to 150,000 sq m.