Chinese-aided project transforms heart of Ethiopia's capital

(Xinhua) 09:18, August 12, 2021

Photo taken on July 20, 2021 shows the Friendship Square in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Photo by Michael Tewelde/Xinhua)

ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Afomia Solomon did not imagine the area of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa surrounding her office in the heart of the city would be transformed an "earthly paradise" in such a short period of time.

Solomon, an advisor for the Chinese-aided Beautifying Sheger Project in the Addis Ababa City Administration, said the project has opened up green spaces in a city that was increasingly grasping for a clean environment.

"The main purpose of the project is to clean the river and also to develop the riverside areas in the city. This includes a 12-km river treatment,and the Friendship Square, a park which consists of many recreational facilities," Solomon told Xinhua recently.

The Friendship Square, a landmark development within the Beautifying Sheger project, contains an artificial lake, a plaza that can accommodate tens of thousands of people at a time, several restaurants and areas for sports exercise.

The recreational avenue, which lies on around 30-hectares of land, was constructed by the Chinese construction giant, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and is expected to eventually accompany a Palace of Science and Technology, a wedding garden and a children's park.

While Solomon is delighted at the physical structures installed inside the Friendship Square, the speed of construction by the CCCC has motivated her to double down on visions for the project.

"The project was initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed two years ago. Within eight months, the first phase of the project was constructed and completed by CCCC," she said.

"It's very amazing that it shows to us how a project can be accomplished in such a short period of time with this quality," Solomon further said.

The Beautifying Sheger project and its landmark Friendship Square recreational avenue has given a lease of life to many Addis Ababa residents who wish to have a fun, exciting venue for them and their kids.

Aziza Nuru, a first-time visitor to the Friendship Square is feeling excited to have seen in Addis Ababa a recreational venue that compares to those she had previously visited in major tourist attraction areas elsewhere in the world.

"This is very beautiful. I only saw these kinds of beautiful things in Dubai, I didn't expect it to be like this. This one is inside Addis Ababa, meaning I can come with my family at any time and visit," Nuru told Xinhua.

Nuru hopes to maximize her enjoyment in the future once the square sets aside a full-fledged kids playground.

Addis Ababa, whose name literally translated in Ethiopia's official working language Amharic as "new flower," has in recent years witnessed a rapidly declining number of green spaces, as open areas are increasingly taken up for real estate and similar other purposes.

Dagmawi Fikre, a native of Addis Ababa and an employee of CCCC in the Beautifying Sheger Project, said he is glad to play a part in re-greening the city which was turning into a concrete jungle in recent years.

"As previously known, Addis Ababa was not a good-looking city, even though it is the capital city of Ethiopia. We are undertaking projects as the city's name implies, we're making it a new flower," Fikre told Xinhua recently.

"Friendship Square has given a big relief to people to enjoy and spend good time inside it," he added.

In addition to the physical marvel, Fikre said he has learnt from his Chinese colleagues the true value of hard work ethic and the results it can bring.

"The Chinese have taught us through this project good work ethic, the importance of giving proper attention to my job and the importance of work punctuality," he said.

Fikre is already planning for the future where he will not just be part of the construction of the project, but also a visitor enjoying the fruits of his work with public events and other entertainment schedules on his mind.

The hard work and collaboration of the Chinese has also been noticed by Wang He, Chairman of the CCCC East Africa's labor union and Head of the Beautifying Sheger Project Construction team.

"I would like to appreciate the collaborative efforts of the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, Ethiopian authorities and the hard work of CCCC staff to effect the successful completion of the first phase of the project," Wang told Xinhua.

"The CCCC has gained recognition and praise of Ethiopian government and local people from this project and built a good image of our company," he further said. 


(Web editor: Xia Peiyao, Liang Jun)


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