Ethiopia: making space for education

This East African country has quadrupled its student population. All of the buildings were constructed efficiently and quickly.

Thirteen new universities with capacity for over 150,000 students – the figures speak for themselves. The new buildings are located throughout Ethiopia. This East African country succeeded in realising this mammoth project cost efficiently within just 5 years. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH spearheaded the project on behalf the Ethiopian Ministry of Education.

Universities are major drivers of economic and social development in every country – a fact the new Ethiopian universities bear testimony to. With their construction, Ethiopia has increased its student teaching capacity four times over. In addition to modern rooms for education and research, the building complexes also provide living space, enabling the students of these new universities to live on campus.

Besides its importance in terms of the educational opportunities it affords young Ethiopians, this large-scale project is also a boon for the country’s construction industry. This is because GIZ worked closely with local companies. In fact, construction was completely in the hands of Ethiopian businesses – around 1,000 of them in all. Engineer Messele Haile from Addis Ababa was also involved and says the building project is ‘very important for Ethiopia.’ Referring to the basic and further training inputs provided by GIZ, he added that, ‘Local subcontractors were trained to build to high standards.’ In addition to architects and engineers, this project benefited more than 4,000 people employed by local firms and cooperatives in the crafts and trade sector.

The new buildings were erected using state-of-the-art building techniques and prefabricated components that kept the costs down and shortened construction times in comparison with similar projects. The universities were recently fitted with water treatment systems, four of which are already in operation. The water is used for flushing toilets in the buildings and for maintaining the gardens on campus.