Feb 1 , 2020

The regional state secured the land 14 years ago

Three cultural centre buildings will be built in Addis Abeba within three years for an estimated cost of one billion Birr.

The Oromia Culture & Tourism Bureau is constructing the cultural centres in Lideta near Balcha Hospital, by Mesqel Flower Roundabout and at Bole International Airport. The first two centres each have nine storeys, while the third centre will have six floors.

Expected to be completed within three years, the regional government will cover the cost of the three projects. The regional administration secured the plots in 2006 from the Addis Abeba City Administration but did not start construction, delaying the project for 14 years.

The construction of the centres was not started earlier due to lack of follow up and the absence of budget prioritisation by the regional government, according to Admasu Agare, deputy head of the Bureau.

The Bole Cultural Centre, which rests on 2,000Sqm of land, will be dedicated to promoting traditional food making of the regional state. The Mesqel Flower Centre rests on 5,000Sqm of land, and it will be used as an art school to train artists and other interested individuals.

Lideta Cultural Centre occupies 2,500Sqm of land and will be promoting the production and preservation of cultural handicrafts for local visitors and international tourists.

Samket Engineering & Construction Plc, MTG Engineering and Gutema Firisa, all local firms, are the contractors hired for the Mesqel Flower, Bole and Lideta centres, respectively.

For the three contractors, the Bureau paid half a billion Birr in advance. Oromia Water Works Design & Supervision Enterprise, a firm established in 2006, is supervising the projects. To hire these companies, the Bureau floated a tender in 2018.

The construction of the centres already started about a month ago and upon their completion, the centres will have facilities like lifts, meeting halls and art training auditoriums.

"The aim of the construction is to foster the art and culture of the region," said Ademasu, "and to get the benefits from the art industry."

Even though the nation and the region are known for the vast cultural resources that could attract millions of people, it still has not utilised them properly, according to the deputy general manager.

“We don’t have enough cultural centres compared with the number of people we serve," said Admasu.

The Bureau is also constructing additional cultural centres at Madda Walabu in Bale, Anole in Oromia and Harar Chelenqo in Harar.

Aziza Abdulfetah, a lecturer and chairperson of landscape architecture at the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction & City Development, recommends the Bureau ensure the centres meet international standards to attract international tourists.

She also says that the centres should be equipped with facilities for disabled people and ensure environmental aspects with adequate green areas with attractive landscapes integrated into the design.

"The designs should also incorporate cultural and indigenous elements to present unique structural perspectives that would add more aesthetics to the general views of the city," she remarked.

PUBLISHED ON Feb 01,2020 [ VOL 20 , NO 1031]

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