Abiy Ahmed plans to spend 49 billion birr ($931 million) to build a new official residence for the head of government. While the Ethiopian government has decided to spend a much lesser amount, 20 billion birr, ($38o million) for “war rehabilitation” which may not include Tigray based upon a $300 million grant from the World Bank. The new palace project will house the Prime Minister and other high government officials in a special neighborhood with planned lakes and functional buildings for government business.
Meanwhile the government has decreed that all buildings in the capital of Ethiopia will have to be painted gray. Tinted windows will no longer be allowed. A consideration is being to give exceptions to buildings owned and or occupied by international companies.
The economy of Ethiopia due to the costs of weapons, instability, falling birr value, rising costs of necessary imports including food and fuel is showing no sign of recovery. Millions are displaced without any income. Critical food shortages are occurring not just in Tigray where there is a severe widespread famine but also in many other regions due to poor agricultural production practices.
The cost of food, fuel, medicines, clothing, and other consumer goods has gone up 50% the past year while the birr has is now at an all time low 0.019 to the dollar. The wisdom of undertaking the building of such a monstrosity of a palace for the Prime Minister is hard to justify.