Barely a few months after it inaugurated the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, which is the tallest skyscraper in East Africa and the third tallest building in the content, Addis Ababa commonly known as the political capital of Africa is in the process of getting two additional high skyscrapers which are even taller. The first one is the bank of Abyssinia, one of the leading private banks in the country, which awarded the 60-floor high rising construction project to China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) worth USD 400 million. The other one is a 44+4-storey building that will be dedicated to business offices for Quara Manufacturing Plc, a major shareholder of Gomeju Oil, Quara has been involved in the export of commodities and the manufacturing sector.
Commercial Bank of Ethiopia
First thing first, Let’s talk about the recently commissioned new state-of-the-art skyscraper headquarters of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), located at the heart of its capital city, which houses the country’s largest public-owned commercial bank. The CBE headquarters, which took 5 years and 11 months to complete, is now the tallest building in East Africa and the third tallest in Africa and was erected by Chinese enterprises as the two countries continue to strengthen bilateral cooperation in 2022.
stands at 209 meters high, the headquarters of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia is constructed on 165,476 square meters of land along Yohanis Street. It has a total of 52 floors and 20-meter deep underground parking lots. The building design includes 46 above-ground floors, a mezzanine level, a ground floor, and 4 basement levels. It also has eight conference halls, an emergency waiting room for disasters, two restaurants on the top two floors, and a sightseeing tower. The new structure also has commerce centers including a shopping mall, cinema, spa, gym, cafeteria, and children’s place, among other things.
The total cost of the construction was US$ 303. 5 million dollars. The building project, which involves the construction of two five-story podiums and the main tower, has won wide acclaim among Ethiopian experts. The tower was built by the Chinese construction giant China State Construction Engineering Corporation. In 2021, total trade between China and Africa exceeded $23.8 billion, up 35.3 percent year-on-year, as the two countries continue to strengthen bilateral cooperation in 2022.
The inauguration ceremony is made to coincide with the 80th anniversary of what has become the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia. It started as the “State Bank of Ethiopia” in 1942 during the imperial Haileselassie government. Commercial Bank of Ethiopia’s starting capital was, according to the sources, one million Maria Theresa (silver bullion coins). Currently, the bank is said to have about 1.1 trillion birrs in assets ($22 billion dollars in the current exchange rate), and over 34 million active customers across Ethiopia. The bank is delivering service in 1,795 branches. Over 200 branches in the Afar and Amhara regions of Ethiopia were destroyed by the TPLF forces when they occupied many areas in those regions last year.
Bank of Abyssinia’s 60 floors Skyline
The Bank of Abyssinia Future Head Quarters Construction Project has been awarded to China State Construction Engineering Company (CSCEC) worth USD 400 million after in-depth negotiation on the contract terms. China State Construction and Engineering Corporation builds skyscrapers all over the world successfully handling more than six thousand projects in the international market and expanding its construction services in different countries. China State Construction and Engineering Corporation is also well remembered for constructing the African Union Conference center, Ethio-Djibouti Railway, the Hawassa Industrial Park, and the new Head Quarters of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.
Bank of Abyssinia Future Headquarters buildings project is like a vertical city that fully meets the demands of all functions and gives visitors an extraordinary experience. The tower building will be standing the tallest building in East Africa with a height of 270 meters above ground. The bank is set to join the skyline of the city, which will be constructed on 9,763 sq. m of land, leased from the Addis Ababa City Administration in the Mexico neighborhood along the road known as the financial district of the city.
The total built-up area of the Bank of Abyssinia headquarters complex is 174 thousand meters square. The main tower comprises a total of 60 floors (56 floors above ground and four floors underground). The underground functions mainly include a mechanical parking area, vault and equipment rooms, and vehicle lobby area.
The building complex mainly includes an office, a podium that has nine floors above ground, a lobby area, a mall, a cinema, and a lecture hall. The building complex has also another block of 20 stories building above ground and two stories underground. Bank of Abyssinia headquarters building will become another landmark in Ethiopia, a new gathering and a focal point in Addis Ababa, and the most eye-catching night scene in the capital city.
Bank of Abyssinia, which is named after the pioneer bank of the land, is one of the few private banks, established in 1996. The name Abyssinia, which is also the name of ancient Ethiopia, reminds us of Ethiopia’s age-old civilization and cultural heritage. The bank has chosen to be associated with this name, thus, reaping wider acceptance by the public. Bank of Abyssinia stands second-largest bank among the 20 private banks operating in the Ethiopian Banking Industry in parameters of Assets, Deposits, and Profitability. The bank is stepping up to reach its vision of becoming the leading commercial bank in East Africa; with enablers like the growth of the Ethiopian economy, untapped market potentials for financial services, and the latest positive trend in new innovations and digital transformation.
The bank also leverages the value discipline of “Operational Excellence” bringing about efficiency and effectiveness in reaching out to the mass market. Operating in the banking business for 26 successful years, Bank of Abyssinia owns a total asset of USD 2.7 billion and an average yearly profit of USD 100 million. Bank of Abyssinia has more than 700 branches all over the country and avails 24/7 services through digital channels and Self-Service branches.
The management of the Bank, under the leadership of its president, Bekalu Zeleke wants to use the new building as its headquarters. For the past seven years, the Bank has been using as its headquarters a 15-storey unfinished building, bought from Saca Plc for 400 million birrs, a sister company of Ayat.
The country’s biggest private bank, Awash Bank, is also planning to construct a 50-story building on its 8,700sq. m of land, with an estimated cost of 12 billion birrs. Located in the Mexico area, the Bank is waiting for approval for its land lease request to begin construction. Once completed, it will be a second property owned by the Bank, which has already built its headquarters near the premises of the National Theatre.
The nib is the latest to complete the construction of its headquarters, built on 3,600sq.m of land at a cost of two billion birrs; 400 million birrs higher than the original budget.
Kazanchis 44 storey tower
Quara Manufacturing Plc contracted China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) for 13 billion birrs to construct a twin tower in the Kazanchis area, Addis Ababa. Owned by Tewodros Yeshiwas, a major shareholder of Gomeju Oil, Quara has been involved in the export of commodities and the manufacturing sector. It has subsidiaries involved in different sectors.
Sprawling on a 5,743sqm plot of land, the twin tower will have 44-storey and 30-storey buildings. With a 219-meter height, the 44+4-storey building will be dedicated to businesses and is going to be taller than the headquarters of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, whose height is 209 meters. The 30-storey building will be used for residential purposes and has three and four-bedroom apartment houses. While it is not a part of the contract signed with the Chinese company, another building will be also constructed to serve as a parking lot once the first phase of the twin tower project is completed.
Jekale Construction Management Consultancy, owned and managed by Wubishet Jekale (Ph.D.), has been contracted as the main consultant for the project. “Some of the unique features of the project is that the site location is surrounded by three main streets, the design concept is the ‘waterfall’,” Wubishet, who is also a Professor at Addis Ababa University and a consultant of Quara, explained at the signing ceremony.
As per the planned design, Quara’s future building will take over from the Commercial Bank Ethiopia HQ, which is 119 meters. The facility will have also additional four storey basements for parking that means the biggest building would have in total 49-storeys. Wubishet said:
“To keep the concept of greenery and environmental friendliness, the project has given ample space at the ground and the buildings that will cover with different plantations and outdoor spaces.
“One of the best features of our future building is that it includes ultimate space utilization with 150,000 square meter floor area on 5,734 square meter plot of land.”
Wubishet’s company is also consulting in the construction of Bank of Abyssinia and Amhara Bank headquarters. The construction of the towers is expected to consume six years, with the developer planning to both lease and sell commercial spaces and residential houses.
According to the plan, the project will consume six years and will also have another phase. The second phase will take on the plot of about 4,000 meter square. Tewodros said that his companies would want to be a model and committed reputable company in Ethiopia to carry out similar projects and businesses.
Constructing such kind of sky rocket mega building by private company would be the first, while it has become common handling by huge financial institutions. CCECC is a well known company that is of a familiar face to Ethiopia following its involvements in mega projects in Ethiopia including the railway and industrial parks.