More than 200 people parted with a jaw-dropping Sh17.6 million each to attend a dinner organised by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to raise funds for the beautification of Addis Ababa, the capital city.
According to the state-owned Fana Broadcasting, “a seat at the event was valued at five million birr (Sh17.6 million),” and “over 200 individuals, representatives from local and international organizations,” graced the event, meaning the organisers may have collected Sh3.52 billion.
With the sporadic growth of Addis Ababa, where modern buildings are constantly sprouting, the fund aims at increasing the greenery coverage, which stands at 0.3 square meters per capita to seven square meters per capita in the city.
The projects, which is estimated, by the state media, to cost Sh100 billion is expected to cover 56 square kilometres and will entail construction of bicycle paths and walkways along the rivers of the capital, planting of trees and the development of urban farms.
With more than 100 million people, Ethiopia is the second most highly populated country in Africa after Nigeria. However, its estimated earning per person ranks it among the poorest countries according to the World Bank reports.
Such statistics raises eyebrows whether the beautification program dubbed “lift the image” is and will be a viable project worth a priority.
The amount collected at the dinner can foot the university fees of over 6200 students in Kenya from the first year to the final fourth year, for a degree program in a Kenyan public university whose tuition fees oscillates around Sh140000 per year.
Could that have been nobler course if the criticism the dinner received from Ethiopian citizens, as reported by AFP, is anything to go by?
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