More Investors Heading to Axum But Poor Infrastructure May Deter Them

By Mhret G/Kristos

ADDIS ABEBA – Investors in Akum town complain that lack of sufficient electricity and water supplies are affecting their investments in a town that is known as tourist destination in Ethiopia.

The investors said their challenges are not limited to them, describing lack of quality infrastructures such as roads in around their investment areas “as challenging”.

Mulu Woldemariam, a general manager of Maeta Trading who is investing close to 60 million br, plan for his steel factory to start production this year.

“I’m not yet sure that I will stick with this plan considering the major challenges such as lack of electricity, water and proper infrastructure such as road,” he says.

The firm – that rests in a 5000 hectare land – received 80% its finance from development bank, and is in the final process of importing machineries from Thailand and Italy.

But “we expect the town’s infrastructure to hold up the process of bringing them in on time,” Mulu says.

Mayor of the town Elias Kahsai, who says investment in Axum is increasing due to safe security and availability of land for investors, admits that the challenges are there.

Tigray regional state has issued licenses for 1, 258 investment projects with a combined capital of 38 billion birr during the past nine months the current 2018/19 fiscal year.

Over 100 of them are expected to invest in Axum town.

The mayor the town says 39 companies with 233 million br capitals have already started their investment, while 62 investors with 1.5 billion br capital are in the process to acquiring land.

Elias said the town is now starting various projects for them not to face similar challenges as the others.

The efforts include construction of electric substation, and allocating additional money to build major roads.

“We should get resolution as soon as possible I because i want to start production very quickly” claims Yibrah Lake, owner of salt complex factory.

Yibrah’s factory is currently under contraction with the total investment of over 11 million br. Over 80 percent of the capital was a loan from Development Bank of Ethiopia.

“I am also facing challenges with the facility during the construction period and I don’t want that to be challenge when the factory goes into production,” Yibrah says.

Weldemariam Mesfin, trade and industry official at Axum town, says the town’s industrial zone have been affected by constant blackout.

He hopped the soon-to-start electricity substitution that is expected to provide 130 megawatt and resolve the issue.

“I hope it will improve the electricity problem at Axum town too,” Weldemariam says.