The largest embassy complex in Sub-Saharan Africa, under construction in the premises of the US Embassy in Ethiopia, is now 50 percent completed . Launched in 2007 the project is scheduled to be completed next year.
Total contract of the building is worth more than 108 million dollars, this includes 9.6 million birr in local contracts for telecom, roads and power installation in addition to the sum spent on local purchases of materials and supplies.
The project that rests on 22.75 acres includes chancery, GSO support annex, marine security guard quarters, three compound access control facilities, utility buildings and cabana with pool. Additional land for expansion is said to be offered by the government.
The US congress has authorized the four storey building to be equipped with state of the art facilities from information technology to communication perspectives. The building, in addition to the chancery, will also accommodate various US affiliated programs including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Presidential Malaria Initiative (PMI) and USAID.
Thomas J. Fitzpatrick, P.E. project director of office of overseas building operations, told Capital his bureau awarded the project to Bill Herbert International, LLC, Birmingham, Alabama in September 2007.
According to Fitzpatrick, the reason for constructing such a large chancery in Ethiopia is part of the worldwide security upgrade program, and the presence of the African Union (AU) headquarters in the country as well as various US programs that require a very large staff.
He further said that “The US congress now mandates all officials of the embassies overseas to be consolidated into a single compound as much as possible.”
“The project has created jobs for more than 750 local people. These workers, before starting work, have been provided a three months training to develop their skills to the US standards of construction.”
A metal worker in the project, told Capital how much he appreciates the opportunity. “I have got the opportunity to be trained in US construction standards, which entitles me to work in any US related construction project in the future.”
Once completed the security cement blocks set out currently in front of the embassy on the Entoto Streets will be removed, Capital learnt.