Chinese firm CSCEC to build Ethiopia’s tallest building

An impression of Commercial Bank of Ethiopia new headquarters.
An impression of Commercial Bank of Ethiopia’s new headquarters. PHOTO/COURTESY
China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) has signed a deal with the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) to build the bank’s 46-storey headquarters in Addis Ababa.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Addis Ababa, CBE president Bekalu Zeleke said the bank and the Chinese company were committed to building one of the best structures in the continent.

“Not only the height, but the overall quality of the building, we believe that this will be one of the best buildings in Africa,” he said.

The general manager for CSCEC in Ethiopia, Song Sudong, assured that the project would be a success since his company had successfully carried out similar building projects in China.

“We believe this will be a new window for your country, for your city, and also for East Africa,” said Song, adding the two sides could be “win-win partners” in the future with the success of this project.

The deal was signed after the state-owned bank finally obtained approval from the Office of the Prime Minister to embark on the project, six years after the lender submitted plans to build the headquarters.

The proposed building, which was designed by Henn Architekten, a German firm, was scheduled to get underway in 2011 but that never happened since the bank did not obtain early approval from the State.

The 150,000-sq-m development will comprise a 200 metre tower and two 5-storey podiums, and will be set near the Ethiopia Hotel off Ras Desta Damtew Street in Addis Ababa.

CBE is yet to disclose the actual cost of the building, although sources have indicated that it could cost US$267 million (Sh25 billion).

At the proposed height of 198 metres, the CBE tower is expected to be one of the tallest in Eastern Africa.