Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed hosted 200 business people and representatives from several organisations for a Sunday dinner dubbed “the most expensive in the country”.
Under a three-year initiative, Ahmed’s government wants to transform Addis Ababa by developing green spaces along the 56km river that cuts across the capital city.
The project will also help mitigate against the flooding at the riverbanks, create bicycle paths and walkways, and nurture a green economy that would make the city more competitive.
The city has a huge diplomatic presence and is home to both the headquarters of the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
For Sunday ceremony, the Guests had to pay $173,000 to dine at the palace of a former emperor of the country, Menelik.
The event was held to help reach a $1.1bn fundraising target to pay for the regeneration of an area in the capital, Addis Ababa.
State linked-Fana news site, tweeted pictures of the table setup , alongside models showing what the project would look like when complete.
Last year, Prime Minister Abiy sold his watch for $175,000 during a recent event for infrastructure development in Ambo, 100km (60 miles) west of Addis Ababa. About $14m was raised in total, the BBC reported.
Since taking the mantle, the 42-year-old PM has preached the philosophy of “medemer,” or unity, in contrast to the ethnic compartmentalization that has plagued the Horn of African nation for decades.
The prime minister has so far embarked on opening up key state-controlled sectors like aviation and telecom, promising to streamline banking regulations, increasing agricultural and manufacturing productivity, and boosting domestic and foreign investment.
Abiy has also helped establish the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund, an independent outfit meant to crowdfund among Ethiopia’s over 3-million strong diaspora population. The fund’s website notes they have so far collected over $2.4 million in donations from as little as $30.