Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Sunday inaugurated a Chinese-built sugar factory constructed in the east African country’s northern Amhara regional state.
Speaking at the inauguration of Tana Beles No.1 sugar factory project, Ahmed praised the China CAMC Engineering Corporation Limited (CAMCE) for finishing the project in less than two years.
“When the sugar project was first started, it was supposed to be finalized within an 18-month period, but had been delayed by eight years by the original contractor, the local firm Metal Engineering Corporation (MeTeC),” Ahmed said.
The Tana Beles No.1 sugar factory project was started in 2012, with a planned completion date of around 18 months, but by end of 2017, only about 60 percent of the project was completed.
CAMCE, a corporation which belongs to China National Machinery Industry Corporation (SINOMACH), took over from the sugar project and started construction in September 2019.
Agegnehu Teshager, President of Amhara regional state, similarly praised CAMCE for the speedy completion of the sugar project despite COVID-19 related challenges.
“I would like to thank CAMCE for finishing the sugar plant project in collaboration with the Ethiopia Sugar Corporation and the Amhara regional administration in less than two years period, despite COVID-19 related challenges,” Teshager said.
Ethiopia has registered 272,805 COVID-19 cases and 4,201 COVID-19 related deaths so far.
“This project will have multifaceted side benefits including the sugar byproduct molasses being able to be used to produce ethanol, alcohols, sanitizer, cattle feed and pulp factory,” he further said.
Speaking to Xinhua, Sun Jianshan, project manager of Tane Beles No.1 Sugar plant project, said the project has the processing capacity of 13,000 tons of sugarcane and 1,500 tons of refined sugar per day respectively.
Sun also said the sugar plant is equipped with a 45 MW generator set, which can generate 30 MW to the external power grid.
Ethiopia expects the completed project to produce 200,000 tons of refined sugar annually, while creating job opportunities for nearly 10,000 Ethiopians.
Despite COVID-19 related logistical challenges, CAMCE and its subcontractors were able to process the first sugar canes on May 28.
CAMCE has also contracted the construction of Welkait Sugar factory with a production factory of 24,000 tons of sugar cane per day located in Ethiopia’s Tigray regional state.
The Chinese firm has also previously constructed the 400 KV Sululta Substation and the 400 KV Yirgalem Substation, contributing to Ethiopia’s electrification ambitions.
Ethiopia plans to increase its current 4,280 MW electricity generation capacity to 17,300 MW by 2025, with power generation projects in hydro, wind, geothermal, solar and biomass sectors.
The Ethiopian government is also working to increase electrification coverage across the country from around 60 percent currently to 100 percent by 2025.