Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has a plan of raising funds from millionaires in the country for infrastructure projects in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa. And to put this to effect, he organized a lavish fundraising dinner which has been termed the most expensive dinner in Africa. The goal is to secure $1bn (£750m).
The dinner attracted about 300 business people and representatives in Addis Ababa, with each person paying $173,000 (£136,000) to dine at the former emperor Menelik's palace.
Wow, what a way to some funds, don’t you think?
The funds raised from the event will be put into ‘Beautifying Sheger’ - as the project is called. The project involves cleaning the rivers and building recreational parks in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa.
The projects are being estimated by the state media to cost Sh100 billion. They are expected to cover 56 square kilometers and will entail construction of bicycle paths and walkways along the rivers of the capital, planting of trees and the development of urban farms.
In a report by the state-owned Fana Broadcasting, “a seat at the event was valued at five million birr (Sh17.6 million),” and “over 200 individuals, representatives from local and international organizations,” graced the event, meaning the organizers may have collected Sh3.52 billion.
Interestingly, reactions of citizens to the lavish dinner are not what the Prime Minister would have hoped; as aggrieved citizens believe that the funds should be used for a more worthy cause other than to beautify Addis Ababa.
A reputable media agency which clearly didn’t support the initiative and proposed use of the fund said in a report that the money should be spent on education considering the increasing population in Ethiopia.
“The amount collected at the dinner can foot the university fees of over 6200 students in Kenya from the first year to the final fourth year, for a degree program in a Kenyan public university whose tuition fees oscillates around Sh140000 per year;” it said.
However, it appears guests at the dinner enjoyed themselves and didn’t regret paying the hefty sum. The BBC quotes a quest at the dinner as saying:
"I was happy to take pictures with him [Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed] and to talk to him like a normal friend. Not just me, but everybody else [got to experience that]," one guest, Ali Hussen, said.
"I don't know how much money they collected [from the dinner]. But I am ready to pay again and again to finish the project", Mr. Hussen said.
Header Image Credit: BBC