Gebeta Sheger : Ethiopian Prime Minister hosts US $174,000 dollar per person dinner

In his Gebeta Sheger program, Ethiopian Prime Minister hosted 200 businessmen and representatives of international organization for US $174,000 dollar per person dinner at Menelik palace in the capital Addis Ababa .

Gebeta Sheger _ Ethiopia _ Menelik's palace
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed greeting his guests at Emperor Menelik’s imperial banquet hall of the 19th century. Photo credit : EBC

May 19,2019

Ethiopian prime minister has hosted Geteba Sheger – an expensive dinner on Sunday in the capital Addis Ababa. According to state media, the program started as early as 3 O’clock with a tour of Emperor Menelik’s palace in the vicinity of Arat Kilo.

As many as 200 representatives of organizations and individuals (businessmen to be exact) have purchased the entrance ticket at a cost of five million Ethiopian birr which is an equivalent of US $174,000.

The dinner is organized in Emperor Menelik’s, a progressive Ethiopian monarch who introduced modernization to Ethiopia and who engineered a decisive military victory over the Italian Colonial army at the battle of Adwa in the late 19th century, Giber bet (banquet hall.)

Sheger Gebeta _ Ethiopian
Emperor Menelik’s Geber bet. Photo source : EBC

Why so expensive dinner?

It is a fundraising drive to fiance Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s ambitious project of beautifying the capital Addis Ababa by treating waters of rivers crossing the city and developing riverside for recreational purpose and covers 56 kilometers. Project cost is estimated to be 29 billion Ethiopian Birr ( about $US 1.1 billion) and is expected to be completed in three years time.

Earlier during the day, Abiy Ahmed participated in a city clean up project which he initiated and ordered to be a countrywide periodic campaign.

The countrywide cleaning campaign is motivated by not only concern for sanitation and the environment but also by the idea of getting across a political message deemed to be relevant in terms of creating awareness along the line of conflict mitigation.

Because challenging radicalization of ethnic politics up front has become politically difficult, Abiy Ahmed’s administration is seizing the environmental cleanup project as a strategy to reach out to Ethiopians in different parts of the country to mobilize for unity and against radicalism with the message “clean the environment. clean thoughts of hate and discrimination.” Over 2 million Ethiopians are internally displaced due to radicalization and ethnic-based violence.

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