China bank funds Ethiopia’s 100-MW Finchaa-Amarti-Neshe

Ethiopian and Chinese banking officials signed an agreement September 24 securing a loan of US$208 million for projects including construction of the 100-MW Finchaa-Amarti-Neshe hydroelectric project on Ethiopia’s Neshe River.

President Abie Sano of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and President Li Ruogu of the Export Import Bank of China signed the agreement providing funds for the hydropower and irrigation project and for the Mugher Cement Enterprise Third Cement Expansion Project, the official Ethiopian News Agency said.

The two projects require a total investment of US$276 million, of which the Ethiopian government is providing the remaining US$68 million.

Sano said the agreement would help speed up construction of the projects, which he said are vital to the country.

Ethiopian Electric Power Corp. signed an agreement in December 2006 with China Gezhouba Group Corp. for construction of the project at a cost of 1.3 billion birr (US$147.3 million). (HNN 2/9/07) Finchaa-Amarti-Neshe is one of the hydro projects in Ethiopia’s five-year strategic plan. The government plans to increase generating capacity to 4,000 MW from 790 MW in the next five years through a series of hydropower projects.

In addition to generating power, the project is to provide irrigation of 6,000 hectares in the vicinity of the Finchaa Sugar Estate.

Ethiopia Finance Minister Sufian Ahmed said the trade volume between Ethiopia and China has reached US$500 million. He said the Chinese government has provided Ethiopia grant assistance, interest-free loans, and technical assistance to development.

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