Chinese firm to finish upgrade of Abebe Bikila Stadium
Zhongmei is expected to complete the whole works within 18 months.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – The Chinese firm Zhongmei Engineering Group Ltd, has secured a 105.5 million Br project to complete and maintain the multi-purpose Abebe Bikila Stadium.
Zhongmie was awarded the project by the Addis Abeba Youth and Sport Bureau two weeks ago. The company took the project after winning an international bid, announced on August 2016 by the Public Procurement and Property Disposal Service (PPPDS).
“The stadium was old and most of its facilities were incomplete. That is why we need to upgrade and maintain it,” Nigatu Dagnachew, head of the Addis Abeba City Administration Sport and Youth Bureau told Fortune.
The winning company will provide 25,000 imported spectator seats, a roof cover, an athletics track, shades for the stadium’s surroundings and will fully maintain the football field, according to Nigatu.
Among the five companies which were shortlisted during the technical evaluation, two local companies, Zamra Construction Plc and Flintstone Engineering, were among them. In July 2016, Zamra was awarded a contract for the construction of one of the planned zonal stadiums, located in the Ayat area, for 500 million Br.
The multi-purpose Abebe Bikila stadium was officially inaugurated in 2002 and has been hosting different competitions including Ethiopian Premier League matches. The stadium has a capacity to accommodate 25,000-30,000 spectators. It has a three-in-one pitch, which can be used for handball, basketball and volleyball, a football field, and an athletics track, which are under construction.
“The stadium has been serving super, premier and youth leagues. It would have been better if the administration completed the stadium before. But even now the maintenance and upgrading works of the stadium will enable it to serve more local, regional and international sport events,” said Sewnet Bishaw, a veteran football manager, and former manager of the Ethiopian national team, the Waliyas.
In addition to this project, the Chinese firm Zhongmie has worked on the construction of the Afar Highroad Project worth 120 million Br. Previously it also won the bid to subcontract grouting works for the Megach Dam project from the Ethiopian Construction Works Corporation Water Infrastructure Construction Sector.
Zhongmie is expected to complete the entire maintenance and upgrading project within 18 months, according to the agreement.
“After the completion of the project, the stadium will have international standards,” said Nigatu.
Recently the Bureau revised its plan of constructing the five zonal stadiums, which were estimated to have a 300 million Br cost each, across the five districts of the city. This came after the city administration slashed the budget allocated for the stadiums by 10 times. After the cabinet slashed the budget, the Bureau changed its plans; it will now construct 44 youth centres, each with a multi purpose handball, basketball and volleyball pitch, across the weredas of the City.
“We revised the plan to construct the youth clubs because we realized that constructing the zonal stadiums are not a priority for the city,” Nigatu reasoned.
The stadium, which is located in the Addis Ketema District at at the neighbourhood of St. Paul’s Hospital, is the City’s second operational stadium,along with the Yidnekachew Tessema Stadium, often referred to as the main stadium.