Skyscrapers, trains and roads: How Addis Ababa came to look like a Chinese city

Updated 1222 GMT (2022 HKT) September 3, 2018

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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (CNN)When Wang Yijun put Ethiopia's most expensive real estate project on the market, he experienced a strange phenomenon. People preferred the lowest floors over those with panoramic city views. "Power cuts mean elevators in this city often don't work," explains Wang, the site manager. "So the bottom-floor flats became the most valuable. You won't see this pricing in any Chinese city."

Replicating China's urban model in Africa has its challenges, but with limited developable space in Addis Ababa -- the capital is surrounded by protected farmland -- Wang believes high-rise living, such as Tsehay Real Estate's $60 million Poli Lotus development, is inevitable.
The Poli Lotus estate on the outskirts of Addis Ababa cost Chinese firm Tsehay Real Estate $60 million.
Theodros Amdeberhan, an Ethiopian lawyer, last year bought a three-bedroom, fifth-floor apartment here for about 3.5 million birr ($127,000). "Local developers never deliver on time," says Amdeberhan. The complex opened in 2016, and so far 70% of lots have sold. "When Mr Wang offered me a good price, I didn't hesitate," he says.
With red lanterns swaying over its entrance, the palm-tree peppered compound of 13 towers could easily be in Shenzhen, Chongqing or the suburbs of Shanghai. It's the sort of Chinese-ification that permeates much of Addis.
The Metro train passes through central Addis Ababa.