16 September 2017

Ethiopia: France Swears 2 Billion Br to Finance Controversial Abattoir

The French Development Agency (AFD) pledges close to two billion Birr financing to modernise and relocate Addis Abeba Abattoirs Enterprise on 20ha land within nine kilometres radius from the runway of Bole International Airport- the largest international airport in the country.

Admasu Nebebe, state minister of Ministry of Finance & Economic Cooperation (MoFEC) and Frederic Bontems, ambassador of France to Ethiopia signed the financing agreement on September 13, 2017, at the premises of the Ministry, located on King George Avenue.

The rapid population growth, which has already surpassed three million last year, coupled with insufficient capacity of the current Abattoir necessitated the relocation of the Abattoir, according to Degamlak Dendir, manager of the relocation project.

"This is a major step taken to modernise and bolster the capacity of the abattoir," said Degamlak. "With the construction of the new abattoir, we can provide better slaughtering services to local as well as international clients."

The loan was requested by the Addis Abeba City Administration after it decided to relocate and upgrade the current abattoir, which is located along Mozambique street commonly called Qera, in 2011.

Also, the fact that the Enterprise is facing major challenges including environmental, social and economic issues made the relocation necessary, according to the Enterprise.

"One of the major objectives of the project will be hygiene and quality of the product, said Bontems, during the signing ceremony while explaining the nature of the project. "It will help the Enterprise to comply with international environmental standards on top of boosting its production."

The finance is secured five years after the project was ceased owing to a fear of rejection from Civil Aviation Authority over the feasibility of relocating the abattoir to Hana Mariam, around Tanzania Street, an area where planes descend for landing.

The Authority was worried that birds attracted by the abattoir would create problems for aeroplanes. Later on, the Authority gave the green light for the project after signing a memorandum of understanding with the Enterprise and Ethiopian Airports Enterprise.

"Although we have no objection to the project, we have agreed to follow up the project from the beginning of the construction till it becomes operational and even after it is operational," an official who works at the Authority's Aerodrome Department told Fortune. "The agreement gave us full authority to follow the project."

The Authority and the Abattoir Enterprise agreed after the latter promised to construct a closed abattoir in the area.

"The new facility will be out of bird's sight as it closed and no waste will be discharged outside the abattoir," said Degamlak. "We have already planned to recycle the waste of the abattoir."

The Enterprise has been slaughtering livestock in its existing facility over the past six decades, slaughtering around 400,000 livestock annually. This will be doubled after the realisation of the new project, according to Degamlak. It will help slaughter 60pc of the meat consumed in the capital.

The project, which is a part of the Second Growth & Transformation Plan, will be completed in the next five years, according to the Enterprise.

Degamlak confirmed that the Enterprise is in process of hiring a consultant for the project after floating a bid in April 2016, although he refrained from disclosing who they are dealing with now.

Home to over 100 million livestock, Ethiopia is listed amongst the top ten nations globally, in terms of livestock population. As of now, there are over 116 local and 70 foreign-owned abattoirs in the country. Last year, the country managed to export 95 million dollars worth of meat and meat products.

Bontems applauded the move of the Enterprise.

"I know the effort made by AFD, City Administration and MoFEC during the evaluation and design phase to make sure that the interests of local communities are taken into account," he said. "This will continue to bear attention at a high environmental and social standard."

About 6,000 people were living in the area before the City's Administration cleared the land for the construction of the new abattoir.

"Sufficient compensation was given to people who are entitled to the property on the land," said Admasu.

Ethiopia will repay the loan to France in 25 years. The duo signed the loan agreement at a time when the outstanding loan of the country has reached 23 billion dollars, according to the Ministry.

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