Scores of wealthy Ethiopians paid an eye-watering $173,000 (150,000 euros) to attend a dinner thrown by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, to raise funds to beautify the capital Addis Ababa, state media reported Monday.
The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate published pictures of diners, some wearing tuxedos, seated at a long rose-covered banquet table.“A seat at the event is valued at 5 million birr,” the report said.
The dinner was held to raise funds for a three-year project by Abiy to “lift the image” of the capital, a bustling, fast-changing city where modern buildings have shot up, construction is ever-present and greenery scarce.
“The rapid growth and expansion of the city over the past few years has not adequately utilised the natural resources and beautiful topography that the city is endowed with,” according to a video of the project posted on Abiy’s website.
The video said that currently green cover is only 0.3 square metres per capita in Addis Ababa, and the project hopes to raise this to seven square metres per capita—in line with average green coverage in Africa.