Rita Marley said his interment was being organised to coincide with a month-long celebration in the east African nation to kick off on what would have been her husband’s 60th birthday on February 6.

Both the Ethiopian Church and government officials have expressed support for the project which has drawn the backing of top African and Reggae artists.

Alongside the Marley Family, Senegal’s Baaba Maal and Youssou N’Dour, and Angelique Kidjo of Benin, will perform with Quincy Jones and Harry Belefonte and many more musicians in a series of Africa Unite concerts, named after one of Marley’s songs.

The performances, expected to be broadcast globally, have been coordinated with the help of the African Union and the UN’s children agency UNICEF, with the aim of raising funds for Ethiopia’s poorest families.

Robert Nesta Marley was born in St Ann, Jamaica in 1945 and later moved to Trench Town, in island’s capital Kingston.

There he joined forces with Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh to create ‘The Wailers’ and went on to make music history after storming the airwaves with their first ‘Simmer Down’ in 1963.

A newly formed Wailers Band was brought on board when Marley went solo in 1973 and took reggae, the Caribbean’s own unique musical sound, to the world stage.

Back-up vocals were provided by the threesome, I-Three, made up of Cuban-born Rita Marely, who married Marley in 1966, Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt.

Marley came to embrace Rastafarianism, a religious faith revering Ethiopia’s last emperor, Haile Selassie, in which followers believe in oneness with nature, grow their hair into dreadlocks and smoke marijuana.

Bob Marley died on May 11, 1981, aged 36.

Rita Marley said that her husband’s death should reflect his mission in life.

“Bob’s whole life is about Africa, it is not about Jamaica,” Mrs Marley said.

“How can you give up a continent for an island? He has a right for his remains to be where he would love them to be.”

Shashamene, 250 kilometres south of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, has been selected as the place were Bob Marley will finally be laid to rest.

It is home to several hundred Rastafarians who were given the 200-hectare parcel of land by Emperor Selassie in 1948.