Ethiopian construction firm makes inroads in Tanzania
Flintstone Engineering, a little known Ethiopian firm, is targeting the Tanzanian market, thanks to a programme run by the German Technical Cooperation (GIZ).
Currently, the company is undertaking a USD 3.5m National Housing Corporation project in Tanzania, said Flintstone founder and Chief Executive Officer, Moges Tadese.
“In Tanzania we have only one project which we are doing alone and a second one with almost equivalent size which is a joint venture with a local company”, he said. “These projects will help us experience the Tanzanian construction market and get an experience to have bigger projects in the future”.
Established more than two decades ago, Flintstone is part of a local contractors’ empowerment project known as the University Capacity Building Program, implemented by GIZ International Services (GIZ IS) Ethiopia. The Ethiopian company has annual turnover of USD 25m, according to Esayas Abebe, executive director of GIZ IS in Ethiopia.
At least 22 local companies have graduated from the UCBP which started in 2005 and ends next year. The companies have also received ISO certification under the programme . The contractors, who have been enrolled in the University Capacity Building Program implemented by GIZ International Services Ethiopia, have become highly competitive in the national market. Almost all of them have upgraded their status from Grade 3 contractor to Grade 1 contractor, Abebe said.
Other Ethiopian contractors, namely Alemeyehu Ketema and Tekleberhan Ambaye are undertaking projects in Rwanda and Somaliland, he noted.
GIZ is managing the design and construction of the one of the buildings for the new African Union headquarters complex, which is being funded by the German government, according to Mr. Abebe. He added that Flintstone is one of the construction firms working on the EUR 42m project.
The new AU headquarters building will cover 13,500-square metres and meet international design standards for environmental sustainability.
In Tanzania, Flintstone’s founder said he would like to see more local contractors dominate major building projects. Foreign firms could come in as subcontractors, he explained, adding that he’s looking forward to working with local firms.
“The competition in Tanzania as compared to Ethiopia is very different”, Tadese said. “In our country the foreign companies are highly involved in the road construction. We have very limited or none foreign contractors in building contracts”.