Students at reading tables in the library Students at reading tables in the library

Social development

Universities for Ethiopia

A programme to build 13 new universities has benefited the construction industry and the higher education sector.

Universities for Ethiopia

As part of its efforts to develop its academic and economic capacities, Ethiopia has built 13 new universities, benefiting both the construction industry and the education sector. All the construction work was carried out by Ethiopian firms. As part of the programme, a wide range of basic and advanced training opportunities was provided for those involved, leading to business start-ups, creating jobs and enabling companies to make efficiency gains.

A university sector which offers a broad range of learning opportunities is a key factor in building a better future. In 2005, the Ethiopian Government therefore launched an initiative to build 13 new universities around the country. In addition to promoting the education sector, the programme has benefited the Ethiopian construction industry through the large-scale award of contracts and provision of comprehensive training.

Student with a water balance on a construction site

Promoting the Ethiopian construction industry

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH implemented the programme on behalf of the Ethiopian Ministry of Education, working closely with the local construction industry. All the university buildings were designed and constructed by Ethiopian companies. In total, almost 1,000 Ethiopian firms were involved in the programme, enabling them to enhance their knowledge and skills and thus improve their long-term competitiveness.

As an additional focus of its work, GIZ provided professional development opportunities for managerial and technical staff, such as training for architects and engineers. It also offered management training to small and medium-sized enterprises, the aim being to build their capacities to draw up business plans and marketing strategies. More than 4,000 staff from companies and cooperatives in the crafts and trades sector successfully completed the management training, enabling them to cut their operating costs by as much as 30 per cent. Around 560 new firms were set up in this sector, and jobs were created for more than 300,000 workers in manufacturing and laying paving stones.

Students at work on a construction site

Universities as learning and living spaces

All the universities were built to standardised designs using prefabricated components and modern construction techniques. This reduced project delivery times and costs, benefiting the Ministry of Education as the commissioning party.

Since October 2010, Ethiopia’s 13 new universities have been providing learning and on-campus living for 150,000 people and are attracting prospective students and academics alike. As the 13 universities are located around the country, all the regions will derive long-term benefits from the know-how generated by the programme.


Last update: April 2017


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