Home | News    Wednesday 19 January 2011

Ethiopian companies eye construction business in South Sudan

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

January 18, 2011(ADDIS ABABA) – As the possibility of the formation of the new state, South Sudan comes closer to realisation, Ethiopia’s giant construction and water companies have shown broad interest in contract business in the area.

Awash Welday Water Works and General Contractor are one among the leading companies in Ethiopia’s construction sector. Named after the owner and general manager, the company has a first grade general contractor license (GC-1) in both water works and in construction which enables it to undertake construction projects worth 25 million Birr (US$ 1.5 million) and above.

“Regardless of the referendum outcome, we are ready to execute as much projects as offered, should we get the grants from south Sudan” Awash Welday told Sudan Tribune in an interview.

“We have the skills, experience, financial capacity and the will to take projects in south Sudan.

As neighbours, and with long-standing historic ties with Sudan we have the responsibility to support the brotherly people of south Sudan” he added.

Awash’s company currently executes projects in Tigray, Oromiya, south Ethiopia and the inhospitable Afar region.

Awash says his company is also well known for accomplishing projects on time and meeting the standards in difficult circumstances.

“We have done several World Bank funded projects in the volcanically active Afar region’s Dallol, in the Danakil Depression [the hottest place on earth] battling temperatures that reach up to 50 degree centigrade.

According to the owner, his company is fully equipped with machinery and undertakes the construction of multi-storied buildings, schools, institutes, government buildings, residential houses, bridges and in the water sector it executes water supply systems dams’ irrigation work, water treatment and sewerage systems." Awash noted.

Preliminary results from the South Sudan referendum indicate support for secession. In Ethiopia 98.4% of the total votes have chosen in favour of independence. However, years of civil war devastated the region and infrastructure needs a great deal of work. If south secedes, analysts say health care, sanitation, water supplies, electricity and roads will need an immediate attention.

Niat Building contractor PLC is also among leading Ethiopian companies keen to engage in construction business in south Sudan.

Owned by Mokonen Alemayo, the company is well known of carrying out foreign-funded projects in the northern Tigray region mainly in areas affected by the 1998-2000 border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Mokonen Alemayo, also general manager, says his company could handle a multi-million dollar projects in Ethiopia or outside Ethiopia:

“We can build condominiums, recreational areas, health centres, hotels amongst others.

We have long been engaged in taking projects aimed to reconstruct war affected areas and with our qualified professionals and rich experience I have no doubt that we will do a successful job in South Sudan and in parallel we share our experience with the people there.”

Rivan Co. Engineering PLC is also among the Ethiopian firms that want to engage, mainly in water works and water drilling activities.

In charge of the firm is Natnael Gebremichael. He says the firm undertakes waterworks systems, building reservoirs, dam construction, irrigation, drainage and water drilling.

Currently the company is executing projects in Tigray and in the vast Oromiya region of Ethiopia.

“We have qualified professionals including civil structure and technical engineers, hydrologists and geologists.

With deep experience in water works, hydro structure, dam construction and on top of that being well-equipped we are competent enough to undertake massive projects in Sudan.” Natnael said.

Currently, there are two Ethiopian government owned financial firms in South Sudan, Ethiopian Commercial Bank and the Ethiopia Insurance Company.