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Chinese-built sugar factory roars to life in Ethiopia

By Otiato Opali in Nairobi, Kenya | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-06-07 20:07

Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia's prime minister, on Sunday inaugurated the Tana Beles No.1 sugar factory, a Chinese-built factory constructed in the East African country's northern Amhara regional state. Speaking during the inauguration of the project, Ahmed praised China CAMC Engineering Corporation Limited for the timely construction and finishing the project in less than two years.

"Inaugurating Tana Beles No.1 sugar factory is key to building a competitive sugar industry in our country. Delayed for over 8 years, the vision for prosperity we embarked upon three years ago has enabled us to fast-track projects to completion," he added.

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, Ahmed said.

The Ethiopian Sugar Development Corporation awarded the $95 million contract to CAMCE in 2019 to undertake the construction of the unfinished sugar plant project. Located in the northeastern parts of Ethiopia, the factory was one of 10 launched by the government years ago. However, the project exhibited poor progress as its previous contractor failed to complete the project in accordance with the terms and timetable of the agreement.

While speaking at the inauguration, Agegnehu Teshager, president of the Amhara regional state, also thanked CAMCE for the speedy completion of the sugar project despite COVID-19-related challenges.

This project will have many side benefits, including the sugar by-product molasses being able to be used to produce ethanol, alcohols, sanitizer and cattle feed, Teshager said.

The factory is expected to process 13,000 tons of sugarcane and 1,500 tons of refined sugar per day. It will also significantly increase Ethiopia's national supply of sugar and enable the nation to export sugar to the international market in the near future. The factory has also been effective in creating a significant amount of jobs and generating electricity, which is added to the national grid with the aim of supporting the country's industrialization ambitions.

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