The Reporter (Addis Ababa)

Ethiopia: The Raid of Modern Buildings in Addis Ababa

And if you were to ask how many, the answer would include quite a few buildings we are all familiar with as Addis Ababa dwellers. I'm definitely sure enough to say that we all recognize and know the city's buildings that were built ten to eight years ago. We can also give brief explanations about them if asked, like the purpose of the buildings, whether they are government or privately owned and so on.

Well these days this has become a history that has fully changed within the past seven or eight years. And the reason for this sudden change is the tremendous and vastly growing trend of the construction center, especially the modern building industry.

Accordingly, since the door for investments has been wide open following the millennium with a new emerged sense of modernizing or transforming Ethiopia into a developed nation, in this edition I want to take this chance to broaden my writing in talking about the vast growing number of malls and city centers that are frequently being built in our capital city. Like I mentioned above, the total number of buildings some years ago was limited and out of those you can imagine the number of malls that were among those few buildings.

For instance, Dembel City Center was the one and only extraordinary multipurpose building to incorporate shops, cafeterias & restaurants and offices in one place for the first time in the country. During the completion and inauguration of Dembel, I remember how it was the main topic of the city among citizens, more like the talk of the town at the time. I also remember the building being a spot to visit on holidays and weekends, even if one has no plans of shopping or any affairs. And honestly speaking, it still is the largest and widest in size among the various city centers. Literally speaking, when we define the word mall, we come to a meaning having an idea of a collection of different market practices all gathered in one wide open building compiled in a shop of glasses, where the displays are bigger, clearer and more attractive in spite of the lights that shine and the interior design of the buildings that makes the shops glowing and astonishing.

In recent years, the boom in the construction of buildings, especially city centers, has made a complete change to the face of the city. And of course modern buildings are one of the key factors used in rating the growth and advancement of cities. Many modern city centers and luxurious hotels are built and still are buildings with great perfection and amazing architectural styles with a short period of time, which again lights up the city more than ever. What amazes me the most is the rapid construction of these buildings that take a maximum of three years to complete. But this data depends on the liquidity position of the investor or builder, if the full budget of the building is available up to its date of completion, the time period of the construction will decrease below three years. This is clearly because resources of the modern building construction sector are readily available in abundance, except for some special items that need to be imported personally by the owner.

Now, if you take a tour of the city it is becoming a norm to see tall buildings everywhere. You'll even lose count trying to come up with the sum of the buildings located on main roads, drive byes and squares of the city. When we come to the actual building phase of these modern buildings, particularly the finishing outlays, which are the aluminum windows and interior designs that are installed on the outer face of the building remarkably play a great role in giving a stunning look to the building as well as the surrounding area.

Most of the time, these city centers allocate the ground floor to cafeterias and banks, sometimes supermarket. There is even a situation where most banks and cafeterias pay a large amount of money in advance in order to get their hands on the ground floor of the city center. Because on any building, regardless of its location, the ground floor is highly marketable, especially for banks, which is an easy access for customers to get the type of service they desire from the bank.

The other thing that I want to add related to this fascinating modern building industry is the fact that some well-known investors and multimillionaires are building the city's magnificent, tall and elegant buildings without any financial aid or loan from banks. Almost each and every cost to put the building up is solely incurred from the investor's pocket. Which again on the other hand indicates the purchasing power of many investors that are highly engaged in this sector.

Among the many more and diversified investment parallels registered under the Addis Ababa city administration investment agency, the modern building industry endeavor is a promising and fast growing investment that is almost raiding the city at every angle. The government has made every suitable step for people to invest on buildings starting from granting lands with or without leaseholds to issuing building permits. If you ask me, right now I'm considering myself lucky to be a witness to the city's unstoppable rebellious modern building industry. And I also feel proud to be a part of this generation that is going through such a smooth transformation. Who knows, maybe one day Addis Ababa will be the heart of skyscrapers and towers in the continent, if not the world. Then New York wouldn't be called concrete jungle anymore.

Ed.'s Note: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Reporter. 

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