The government has announced plans to build 400,000 low-cost houses over the next four years, although the ministry of works and urban development says that a total of 900,000 is needed to meet the country's housing shortage.

The homes, otherwise known as condominiums, will be constructed in 70 towns and cities across the country, including Addis Ababa, at an estimated cost of 16 billion birr, to be financed with bank loans. The project is expected to create up to 200,000 jobs.

In a related development, the ministry of works and urban development has said that because of the shortage of cement in the country it will use the special Gogoba soil in the Dire Dawa area east of the capital to build the 1,650 homes scheduled for construction, according to business weekly newspaper Fortune. The same material has also been earmarked for the 1,600 houses in Dire Dawa destroyed in flooding in August. The equipment needed to turn the soil into building blocks will be bought in South Africa.

Ethiopia has an annual cement production of around 1.6 million tonnes while the demand due to rapid construction has reached nearly twice that amount.