Ethiopia has revoked a total of 412.6 hectares of land held by investors, including Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi for failure to create jobs and develop the city, as promised when the lands were awarded to them, head of Addis Ababa Land Bank Tesfaye Tilahun told the Voice of America.
The investors had promised to create jobs for the youth and develop Addis Ababa by building industries, hotels, a media center and other complexes in the busy city which has over 4 million residents.
“All they did was make a fence around thousands square feet of land and left it for years. That is all they did. Instead of building the city, they gave the city a bad image, making it a place of waste collections,” said Tilahun, while explaining why 95 individuals and businesses lost their licenses.
Of the 412.6 hectares of land, 55 were associated with Mohammed International Development Research and Organization Companies (MIDROC), a private company that belongs to Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi. In 2005, MIDROC leased about 33,000 square feet of land in the heart of the capital, agreeing to build a city center there but only evicted locals and built a huge fence round the land.
Prior to the lease revocation, MIDROC has had a coarse relationship with Addis Ababa residents who have accused the company of polluting the environment and refusing job opportunities to locals, leading to a protest in the Oromia region of the capital because of the fear of losing their farmlands to MIDROC.
This week alone, 19 Ethiopian government agencies and 18 companies related to African diplomats or governments also had their licenses revoked.