The long awaited National Palace renovations are set to start in April with the timeline of completion being projected for one year, Capital has learnt.
For the full renovation to take place, all the items of the property are being wrapped and packed to an undisclosed location as the palace preps to open its doors to the public.
The palace which was built in 1955 was named Jubilee palace to mark the Silver Jubilee of Emperor Haile Selassie. The Emperor at the time made the Jubilee Palace his main residence and since then the palace has become one of the most emblematic national buildings of Ethiopia, though it was never opened to the public and was used as an official residency of the president where official functions were hosted.
The renovation which is expected to start shortly is part of the commitments of the French government to strengthen the Ethiopian Heritage Program, following high French government officials visit to Addis Ababa in March 2019.
In July 16, 2020 an agreement was signed between Ahmed Shide, Minister of Finance, Valérie Tehio, French Development Agency /AFD/ Country Director and Frederic Bontems, the then Ambassador of France to Ethiopia and the African Union for ADF to provide 12 million euros in financing for the first phase of the renovation project of the palace.
The government had announced that a new building was in the works for the presidential office, which is currently housed in the same compound as the Prime Minister. The president is expected to move to the new building and presidential residence located around 6 kilo near US embassy, soon.
According to sources, the rehabilitation of the palace is said to maintain its original architectural beauty and integrity. However, comprehensive maintenances and additional construction activities will be underway to turn it to a leading tourist attraction site in the city.
The first phase of the Project will cost 20 million euros and will consist the opening of the Palace to the public.
The palace administration will be in charge of the implementation with the support of expertise from France. A French public agency and key actor in international technical cooperation and the French public institutions such as Versailles’ Palace organization will also take part in the renovations.
As part of increasing tourist destinations in the country and to increase income in 2019, the government also opened the Menelik Palace built in 1887 by Emperor Menelik to the public for the first time in more than a century after renovation.
Similarly, the French government is also supporting renovation projects of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ethiopia by providing funding and technical support to the project.