Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

23 February 2014

Ethiopia: Technology Institute Agrees to Consult Grand Dam

It is hoped that the involvement of local companies will help to build their capacity for future projects

The Addis Abeba Institute of Technology (AAiT) has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) for consultancy services on the Great Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) with the Metal & Engineering Corporation (MetEC). The AAiT will be paid two million Birr in advance for a contract yet to be signed, in six months, for a sum yet to be determined.

The deal was inked on Thursday, February 20, 2014, at the Senate Hall of the main campus of Addis Abeba University (AAU), located in the Sidist Kilo area along Algeria Street, by Admassu Tsegaye (PhD), president of the AAU, and Kinfe Dagnew (B. Gen), director of the MetEC, in the presence of Debretsion Gebremicheal, deputy prime minister for the economic & finance cluster and minister of Communications & Information Technology (MoCIT).

The AAiT's consultancy service will focus on design, mobilisation, delivery, manufacturing, installation and testing of steel structures manufactured by the Corporation. The Institute will also provide consultancy on contract administration and management related issues.

The MetEC - a state-owned industrial complex, consisting of close to 70 engineering enterprises and military hardware manufacturing entities - is the only local contractor involved in the GERD project .

The agreement is crucial, as it helps build the capacity of local experts to handle similar projects in the future, says Admassu.

According to the agreement, the Corporation will prepare a detailed terms of reference (TOR) document within the next 21 days, after the signing of the agreement, to be submitted to the AiTT.

It will pay two million Birr to the Institute as initial working capital. This will then be deducted from the amount in the main contract agreement yet to be signed, according to the MoA. The AAiT will submit a proposal for the implementation of the consultancy services within 60 days of the signing date, indicating a detailed breakdown of all costs, according to the agreement.

The amount of money the AAiT will receive for the consultancy service is yet to be determined. For Kinfe, however, finance is not a major issue in the deal. He highlights experience and knowledge as being more important.

Debretsion, too, is keen on pointing out the significance of the project with regards to technology transfer to local experts.

"This is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss," he said.

The contract to be signed between AAiT and MetEC will last until the end of the GERD project, Fortune learnt.

The GERD, which is being built in Guba, in the Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State near the border with Sudan, will allow the country to generate 6,000Mw of electricity. This will make it the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa.

The hydro construction component of the project has been awarded to Salini Costruttori, Italy's third largest general contractor.

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