University Capacity Building Programme (UCBP)

Programme description

Title: University Capacity Building Programme (UCBP)
Commissioned by: Ministry of Education, Ethiopia
Financier: Ministry of Education, Ethiopia
Country: Ethiopia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Education, Ethiopia
Overall term: 2005 to 2016 (including infrastructure addendum)

Äthiopien. Ausbildung von Bauzeichnern © GIZ


The Ethiopian Government has commissioned GIZ InS as the implementing agent for its University Capacity Building Programme (UCBP). This is a large-scale construction project that makes complex demands of the programme management. Acting as an internally appointed agent of the Ethiopian Ministry of Education, GIZ InS is managing the design and construction of 13 public universities located around the country. The UCBP was planned by the Ethiopian Government, which is also leading and financing the programme.


Thirteen new universities have been built with a total capacity of over 150,000 students living and studying on campus. The Ethiopian construction industry has been modernised, and its competitiveness has increased, both domestically and abroad. Cost-efficient construction technologies have been introduced without compromising on the envisaged quality.


It has been shown that GIZ’s specific capacity development strategy is suitable for the completion of large-scale project, while also creating added value in development terms. Capacity development is not the only benefit that derives from GIZ’s involvement. Ultimately it also reduces the construction costs and the overall project costs, when compared to similar projects which do not include capacity development components.

The university buildings are designed and constructed exclusively by Ethiopian companies, whose participation in the programme allows them to enhance their knowledge and skills, thus enabling them subsequently to carry out other similar projects on their own. Thus, the productivity of the construction companies increases, which in turn improves their competitiveness, both at home and abroad. The capacity development measures have been specially tailored to meet the needs of the individual sectors. The planning and construction of the universities involves more than 15 general contractors, over 40 architects and engineering firms, more than 110 building companies, and upward of 800 locally employed, small and medium-sized enterprises.

The cost-efficient design scheme that was developed for the programme encompasses project management, contract management and financial management, while also ensuring the appropriate use of modern equipment. Since the programme has streamlined the processes according to established principles of efficiency in construction, it is possible to complete the building projects rapidly and without compromising on quality. This reduces construction times and material wastage, and as such it also saves money. This cost efficient method of construction has now been set as the standard for the construction work carried out as part of the programme.

The consulting firm KOCKS Consult GMBH supports the implementation of the project.

Results achieved so far

The programme focuses on institutional capacity development, while encouraging the formation of small and medium-sized enterprises to perform specialised trades. This has benefited local companies, because the programme obliges the general contractors to use local partners as sub-contractors.

  • The phased approach allowed an intake of students to each university while construction continues. Since October 2010, 150,000 students have been living and studying on the new UCBP campuses.
  • 33 of the companies were involved in the UCBP had attained certification according to international standards (ISO 9001:2000).
  • The inter-linkage of construction management with capacity development has produced tangible improvements to the existing skills, and it has encouraged the development of new competences and resources in the various regions of the country.
  • The programme has generated roughly 2.15 million man-months of employment, mainly in the regions. The regional economy is also developing, as the specialised sub-contractors remain in the regions where they have been trained.
  • Employment has been created for more than 300,000 workers in the newly introduced trade of cobblestone paving.
  • The Ministry of Education has now also contracted GIZ InS to construct 15 sewage and wastewater treatment plants, as well as the associated sewage mains, following completion of the building work at the 15 programme sites. Further capacity development measures are implemented as part of this commission, which will enable the long-term introduction of the new technologies to Ethiopia.