The legendary long-distance athlete and investment tycoon, Haile Gebresilassie, said that he is still waiting for the approval of the Addis Ababa City Administration cabinet to secure a plot of land he requested to build an assembly plant for the Korean vehicle brand Hyundai in the southwestern outskirts of Addis Ababa.
However, sources told The Reporter that the city cabinet had a meeting last week where it evaluated Haile’s request for land but rejected it because the requested land size is too large in view of the current shortage of investment land. However, sources further said that the cabinet is still planning to reconsider provided that Haile is willing to reduce size of the plot considerably.
However, Haile said that the plot has not yet been confirmed by the city formally.
Haile had requested some 70 hectares of land for the car assembly originally. On his part, Haile told The Reporter that he recognizes the need to reduce it to 30 hectares. “I understand the problems in investment land shortage which the administration is feeling in recent times”.
He also told The Reporter that he applied for the plot almost two years ago. He said that his plan was to build the plant and begin assembly operation immediately.
He also said that the Korean carmaker’s board reapproved Haile’s car assembly plant to manufacture the vehicle in Ethiopia recently.
He also said his company’s engineers were sent to Korea to received practical training in Hyundai’s factory.
The Koreans have trained our men for three days. Our trainees were found to be efficient and capable to undertake the assembly of Hyundai’s vehicle. This helped us to have the board’s node to assemble their brand vehicles in Ethiopia,” Haile told The Reporter, adding that Koreans have also shut downs assembling plants in Sudan and other African nations for underperformance. Haile currently imports and distributes Hyundai vehicles though the Marathon Motors Engineering PLC, which is a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Company and Haile Gebrselassie. The company is located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was founded in 2009. The firm is the official general importer of Hyundai vehicles in Ethiopia.