Chinese firm building $55m irrigation project in Ethiopia

A 3,000-hectare irrigation project built by China's Jiangxi Water and Hydropower Construction is expected to be commissioned in October, an Ethiopian official said Friday.

The statement by Bizuneh Tolcha, director of Public Relations and Communications Directorate at the Ethiopian Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE), said the project costs $55 million.

"The project is funded jointly by the World Bank and the Ethiopian government with so far 55 percent completion rate," said Tolcha.

The project being constructed in South Gonder Zone of Amhara regional state is expected to benefit 17,000 people and add 13,000 more hectares once it is operational.

Tolcha said the project is part of the Ethiopian government's plan to ensure food self-sufficiency and earn hard currency from the export of crop products.

"Our ministry has so far built several medium and large-scale irrigation projects amounting to 450,726 hectares out of 5.3 million hectares of irrigable land Ethiopia has," he added.

Ethiopia hopes the completion of similar irrigation projects will help shed the image of Africa's second most populous nation at 100 million as being a perennial drought-prone nation.