It has been a week days since the saddest news of the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was heard. The Prime Minister’s death is indeed a great shock for the people of Ethiopia, Africa and the rest of the world.His struggle for democracy, freedom and development begins in the mid of 1960s when he joined Tigrian People Liberation Front (TPLF). Since then, Meles had been playing a significance role as a fighter and leader. After the downfall of the Derg regime Meles’ leadership as President and Prime Minister has tremendously contributed to the economic development of Ethiopia. Under his wise leadership, the country has registered a remarkable growth in every sector of the economy. Due to his relentless effort in the fight against poverty, double digit growth was recorded in the past consecutive years.
As a means of realizing his vision to transform the country from agriculture to an industry led economy, thereby placing Ethiopia among the middle income countries he designed a five year Growth and Transformation Plan. Hence, to successfully achieve the set goals the construction of various mega projects such as the Grand Renaissance Dam (GRD) and ten sugar factories is underway. No doubt, after their completion all these projects will expedite the economy of the country.
Particularly in his fighting against poverty for the last 21 years, he gave a special emphasis for the development of the construction sector. The sector has recorded 10 per cent annual growth and contributed five per cent to the GDP of the country. It also has created job opportunities for thousands of citizens. Similarly, the sector brought business opportunities for many contractors, consultants and professionals.
In relation to this, his government has been giving special attention on the development of road infrastructure. Road Sector Development Programmes (RSDP) that aim to improve the road coverage of the country have get worldwide recognition by various institutions like World Bank.
Construction of roads
Following the downfall of Derge in 1991, EPDRF under the leadership of Meles Zenawi has been working to speed up the economy of the country and improve the lives of citizens. In this respect , construction, rehabilitation and upgrading of roads was a key priority for the government Roads were built at various construction phases from 1997 to 2007 with a budget 51 billion birr. Its focus was on the restoration of the road network to an acceptable condition. The programme mainly focused on the rehabilitation and upgrading of main roads, construction of new roads and regular maintenance on the network. Side by side, the programme also considered major policy and institutional reforms.
Accomplishment in RSDP I,II and III was encouraging and the next RSDP IV will be accomplished from 2010-2015 with 81 billion birr budget beginning from 2010. The programme also constitutes Rural Road Access Programme (URRAP) which is aimed at connecting all kebeles to nearby higher-class road using 70,000-Kms of all weather pavement solutions. Currently it is in good progress.
To improve the road network of Addis Ababa City the government undertook various road projects and raised the road coverage to 13.7 per cent from 5.52 per cent where it was before 21 years. Currently 38 road projects are completed and open for transport. In 2020 it envisaged to increase the road coverage of the city to 20 per cent.
On the other hand, to support the construction industry by supplying sufficient amount of construction raw materials such as cement and reinforcement bars, more than ten new cement factories have been constructed so far and other 22 cement projects are underway to meet the country’s 8 million tonnes of annual cement demand at the end of this year. Today, the country has the capacity of producing 3 million tonnes of cement annually.
- The study of Integrated Housing Development Programme (IHDP) which was undertaken in 2006 indicated that the housing deficit in the urban area of the country is 900,000 out of which 450,000 is the share of Addis Ababa . Of the total urban housing stock 50 per cent was in poor or irrepairable condition. So, the government launched the Integrated Housing Development Programme as part of a broader urban development policy in an effort to deliver affordable housing to low and middle income residents and create jobs. The programme has been implemented in 56 towns across the country, and has built some 208,000 housing units to date. The housing programme is also transforming the face of Addis, with its new condominium blocks becoming increasingly visible throughout the city. In the present time more than 80,000 condos are completed and transferred to residents.
- Universities also take a share in boosting the construction industry. The Council of Ministers has approved an additional 1.86 billion birr for the ongoing construction of 13 new universities.
Construction of health centres
- The government of Ethiopia has embarked on a health system expansion programme with the goal of increasing the number of government health centres from approximately 630 in 2009 to 3,153 by the end of 2012.
During the past decade or so, the country witnessed unprecedented accelerated economic growth of double digit. Hence, due to the rapid growth of the economy the transportation demands will grow to a phenomenal level. In the light of this the urban-rural transport strategy of the country has been laid down taking into account the needs for better access to new areas to unlock the potentials of the country by means of expanding efficient high volume transport system. Ethiopia, therefore, needs a modern, economic time saving and long lasting transportation which will make the cost of exports more competitive and reduce those of imported goods and will lead to inclusive growth.
In line with this, the government considered railway as alternative land based mode of transport and growth engine of the development. For that, the government designed 2,800-kms of railway to be completed within the GTP period. The railway covers Sebeta Town near the Capital Addis Ababa to Meiso Town, Meiso Town via Dire Dawa City to Dewele Town, Djibouti border, Makalle- Woldiya/Hara Gebeya- Semera-Dicheto-Elidar are among others contracted for construction. Similarly, in order to mitigate the transportation problem in Addis Ababa the design of a total of 73.75-Kms of light rail transit (LRT) that connects Lega Taffo to Sebeta in East-West direction and Entoto to Akaki Gelan in the North -South direction completed and construction of this LRT project in Addis Ababa are expected to cost more than 400 million US dollars.
- Construction of 12 irrigation projects is underway across the country at a cost of 14.5 billion birr, according to the Ministry of Water and Energy. The projects include, among others, Kesem Tendaho, Koga, Rib and Gidobo.
- More than 153,810 farmers and pastoralists will benefit from the projects expected to be completed before June 2007 E.C. The projects will have a capacity to develop a total of over 137.5 hectares land.
- Nearly 5.3 million hectares of irrigable land is available across the country.
- Some 2.1 billion birr was allocated for construction of irrigation projects in 2004 E.C. alone.
- Ethiopia well known as the water tower of East Africa and endowed with many rivers, but could exploit only 5 per cent of its hydro power potential. In order to benefit from its hydro power potentials Ethiopia has launched various hydropower projects including the latest Grand Renaissance Dam. Some of the projects are already completed. The Prime Minister’s courageous steps to ensure power in Ethiopia have almost made Ethiopia one of the power houses of electricity.
- Gilgel Gibe I, II and III on Gilgel Gibe River Tekezé Dam on Tekeze (Atbara) River, Beles on Lake Tana (Blue Nile), Fincha Amerti Neshe (FAN) and the Grand Renaiassance Dam on River Nile are some of the legacies of PM Meles’ regimes.
Source:Ethiopian Press Agency : http://allafrica.com/stories/201208291033.html