Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Saudi Billionaire to Invest $3.4 Billion in Ethiopia in 5 Years

Derba Group, an amalgam of three Ethiopian companies owned by Saudi billionaire Mohammed al- Amoudi, said it plans to invest 59 billion birr ($3.4 billion) in seven industrial projects over the next five years.The company, formed last month, has already invested 12 billion birr of a planned 71 billion birr in agriculture and cement in the Horn of Africa country, Chief Executive Officer Haile Assegide said today by phone from Derba Midroc Cement Plc’s plant near Chancho, about 70 kilometers (44 miles) northwest of Addis Ababa, the capital.“The balance will be invested in the next five-year period,” said Haile. Derba’s cement, steel, agriculture and transport operations may generate annual revenue of 41 billion birr and create more than 370,000 jobs, he said.Ethiopian-born al-Amoudi is ranked by Forbes magazine as the world’s 63rd-richest person and was worth $12.3 billion in March. The 66-year-old is close to the Saudi royal family and his construction company, Midroc, built the $30 billion underground oil storage facility in the kingdom in the late 1980s, according to the magazine.Al-Amoudi’s Saudi Star Agricultural Development Plc, which is primarily growing rice to export to Saudi Arabia, has leased 10,000 hectares (24,711 acres) of land in Ethiopia’s western Gambella region where it plans to build two rice mill factories, Haile said. The company is also in the “process of leasing an additional 290,000 hectares,” he said, without providing further details. Source ( Bloomberg)


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