The Chinese firm, CGC Overseas Construction Co. Ltd, said Saturday it has signed an agreement with the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) for the construction works of two roads with a total amount of over 839 million birr (about 97 million U.S. dollars).
Sun Guoqiang, the firm's chief representative in Ethiopia, told Xinhua that his company won the international bid for the construction of the Dodola Junction-Goba and Dera-Gololcha Mechara roads, which are located in south Ethiopia's Oromia state.
The Dodola Junction-Goba road is part of the Nazareth-Assela- Dodola and Shashemene-Goba Road Upgrading Project, and the work consists of upgrading the existing 130-km natural gravel surfaced road. The cost of the construction works of the project is over 371 million birr (about 43 million dollars).
The Dera-Gololcha Mechara road is part of the Dera-Gololcha Mechara Road Upgrading Project and the work consists of upgrading the existing 120-km gravel track to a six-meter-wide gravel surfaced carriage way along with a 0.5-meter gravel shoulder on either side, corresponding to feeder road standards. The cost is over 468 million birr (about 54 million dollars).
Sun said the construction of each project is expected to be completed in three and a half years.
The Ethiopian government has secured credit from the International Development Association (IDA) to cover the cost of the road sector development program and a portion of it is allocated towards the construction of the two road projects. The government also finances a considerable portion of the cost of the project.
CGC Overseas Construction Co. Ltd is a subsidiary company of the China Geo-engineering Corporation (CGC). Since last year, CGC Overseas Construction Co. Ltd has been given a number of road projects in Ethiopia, with a total amount of over 2.4 billion birr (276 million dollars).
Centered in the capital Addis Ababa, the country's road system radiates in all directions in a spoke-like pattern. However, substantial parts of the country, notably in the west, southwest, and southeast, still lacks all-weather connections to this network. Only about l2 percent of the 80-million population have been access to roads. Most roads in the national network were concentrated in the central, eastern, and northern highlands. Therefore, completion of an adequate nationwide highway system continued to be one of Ethiopia's major development challenges.
Since the downfall of the Derg regime in 1991, many Chinese firms entered Ethiopia and played a major role in the construction of roads in the Horn of Africa country.
Despite these efforts, Ethiopia's road network remained primitive and quite limited, even by African standards.