Ethiopia Hails Six Countries to Host Regional Meteorology’s HQs

To construct a new headquarters for the World Meteorology Organisation Regional Office, Ethiopia will spend one Billion Birr

The government of Ethiopia is going to invest one Billion Birr to construct a new headquarter for the World Meteorology Organization’s (WMO) African Regional Office, a United Nations Agency which is relocating to Ethiopia from Geneva, Switzerland.

The 11-storey building that sits on a 35,000Sqm lot will also house the National Meteorology Agency (NMA); and will have research, training and technical facilities.  The foundation for the building was laid last Tuesday by Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen and Petteri Talas, secretary-general of World Meteorology Agency. The building will rest inside the premises of NMA located in Bole District across from the airlines cargo terminal.

The building is expected to be completed within two to three years after start of construction.  The previous building is too old and will not be able to facilitate the technologically advanced services required, according to Fetene Teshome, director of the Agency.

Seven consulting firms competed in a bid to design and supervise the building, with ASPIRE AECOM Consultancy, Architect & Engineering winning the bid. Established in 2000, Aspire has consulted on a stadium project in Jimma and Adulala Resorts & Spa Besheftu, just south of the capital. The firm will receive 1.5 million Br to design the project and 133,000 Br a month for supervision of the construction project. A bid to find a contractor has been floated.

“There are too many stakeholders in government projects,” says Habtamu Hailemariam, CEO of Aspire. “It creates lags and is usually challenging to deal with as it requires necessary coordination with different stakeholders.”

“Ethiopia is one of the most stable countries in Africa,” said Taalas of the WMO, an intergovernmental organisation with a membership of 191 states and territories.

The previous headquarters for the regional office was in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, before it was moved to Geneva, Switzerland, due to continuous conflicts.

A day ahead of the foundation laying ceremony, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and WMO had signed an agreement that would enable the latter to move its headquarters to Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.

Addis Abeba was selected after competing against six African nations, which waslater narrowed down to three. Initially, 10 countries, including Kenya and Nigeria, were registered to host the head office of the organisation, which specialises in meteorology, weather and climate, operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.

The relocation of the organisation means a great deal to a country which is hyper-dependent on agriculture, according to Girmaw Gezahange, a freelance consultant who currently works with the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) as senior project officer.

“For an agrarian country like Ethiopia, understanding weather patterns and the climate is very essential,” says Girmaw.

Ahmedin Abdulkerim, public relations & communications director at the National Metrology Agency, believes the new regional office would give a chance to the local professionals to get training locally.

“The Agency has been sending high scoring physics and mathematics graduates to India and Kenya for training,” says Ahmedin. “This will give them the opportunity to study here.”

The growing demand for metrological information for the safe operation of air transport gave way to the establishment of a department under the Civil Aviation Authority in the early 1950s. The National Metrological Agency was officially established on December 31, 1980.



Published on Jul 14,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 950]



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