Addis Ababa administration revokes land leases held by 95 investors, including Mohammed al Amoudi

The administration of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa has revoked land leases from dozens of investors, including Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi.

A total of 412.6 hectares of land has been returned to the city, head of Addis Ababa Land Bank and Transfer Office Tesfaye Tilahun told VOA.

Investors have not kept their promise to create jobs and help develop the city of more than 4 million people, he said.

“They just constructed a fence around thousands of square feet and left it for years. That’s all they did, “he said.

Ninety-five people and businesses have lost their licenses, said Tesfaye.

Reclaimed land includes 55 hectares associated with MIDROC Ethiopia, a private company owned by Saudi billionaire al-Amoudi.

MIDROC Ethiopia leased approximately 3,000 square meters of land in the heart of the capital in 2005, agreeing to build an on-site city center.

“The company has just placed a fence around this gigantic tract of land. Instead of building the city center, it gave the city a bad image, making it a waste collection place,” Tesfaye said.

VOA’s efforts to reach the representatives of MIDROC Ethiopia to obtain a response to the government’s actions were unsuccessful.

MIDROC has often had a rough relationship with residents of Addis Ababa, who have accused the company of polluting the environment and refusing job opportunities to locals.

Nineteen Ethiopian government agencies and 18 companies linked to African diplomats also saw their licenses revoked this week.

Tesfaye said the entities had promised to build an industry, hotels, a press center and other complexes in different parts of the city’s liveliest district.

City officials in Addis Ababa intend to audit other properties in the city. “It’s the beginning,” he says.