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The Dire Dawa City Administration is working to lead the economic transformation of the country in the manufacturing sector.
Ased Ziad, mayor of the city, said that the city has been making progress in the manufacturing sector over the past year. “The coming years will be the major transformation period of the city in terms of leading the manufacturing hub in the country,” the mayor told Capital.
The federal government has selected the city of Dire Dawa, one of the two cities under the federal government control, to be a major manufacturing hub in the country.
5,000 hectares of land has been allocated, for construction of the first Special Economic Zone in the country. According to the mayor, the design work for the first 1,000 hectares has been finalized.
A road infrastructure project to connect the city with the port of Djibouti and central parts of the country  is underway.  The mayor also explained that the overland road to connect the city with the central parts of the country is pending to secure funds before construction begins.
The construction of a dry port is on progress, while the state owned Metal and Engineering Corporation has established locomotive manufacturing industry for railcars.
On the other hand, the railway which will connect the capital with the port of Djibouti via Dire Dawa is on the final stages before commencing operation.
He said that the city administration is working to attract international and local investors to invest on the manufacturing sector. “We are working strongly to boost the economic activity of the city,” the mayor added. “The city has a bright future and in the coming five years it will attain significant economic achievements,” he added.
The special economic zone is expected to include several industries in the manufacturing and service sector. He said that in the past five years the city has registered growth in terms of developmental projects.
Dire Dawa is the most developed Ethiopian city close to the port of Djibouti that is also connected to the capital via road, rail and air transportation.
There are however ongoing concerns yet to be addressed by the city. With economic expansion has come rapid population growth, and related water shortages. The water shortages have been mentioned as a barrier for industry development, and the government is working on a new project to make water available for the hot city.
The city administration is undertaking a 700 million birr project with the financial support of the World Bank to create sustainable water supply for its population, according to the mayor.
Currently there is a shortfall of 150,000 cubic meters of water per day, from the 400,000 cubic meter demand. The current project that will be completed in the current budget year is expected to create a solution for the coming 30 years.
The 14 water wells have been drilled, according to the mayor. While the construction of eight reservoirs, are on the final stages of completion. The project shall increase the daily water supply to one million cubic meters. He said that the older water pipeline will be replaced by a new line.