East Africa’s Tallest Building Opens in Addis Ababa

It’s official: East Africa’s tallest building which houses the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) headquarters is open at the center of Addis Ababa on Sunday.

The 53-floor skyscraper of the Commercial Bank celebrated its grand opening on the day the bank marked its 80 oak anniversary.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed officially inaugurated the 209 meter long building that the state-owned Bank built at a cost of $303.5 million on a 165,476.4 sq. meters of land.

The bank “is a testament to Ethiopia’s capacity in building institutions and passing them on to future generations,” said PM Abiy.

“It is delighting to see that the bank, on its 80th anniversary completed this state-of-the-art building”.

The construction of the newly inaugurated headquarters, which is now the tallest building in East Africa and the third tallest in Africa, has taken 5 years and 11 months to complete.

It houses conference and commercial centers as well as facilities that are open for public access including exhibition area, cafeteria, sighting area, shopping mall, cinema, gymnasium, spa, restaurant and game and other areas.

The building adds a new branch to the CBE’s network of 1,800 offices that employs at least 40,000 workers on a permanent basis alone, serving over 31.4 million customers across the country.

The PM encourages officials of the CBE in particular and the commercial banks in Ethiopia in general to now focus on building their overall capacity to make themselves capable of competing at international arena.

“There is the need to build institutions that continue to learn from the past and redeem seasons,” PM Abiy said. “In order for our banks to compete with international banks, they need far more modernization in terms of manpower and operation aside (from) erecting such magnificent buildings.”

Established in 1942, the CBE started operating with a capital of a million Maria Theresa thaler (MTT). Eighty years later, it’s total assets are now valued at 1.1 trillion Birr, accounting for over 60% of the sector’s total assets.