Urban Management in Ethiopia. Promoting Sustainable Urban Development in Addis Ababa

Term Paper, 2018

17 Pages, Grade: A



1. Introduction
1.1 Background of Addis Ababa

2. Major Issue of Urban Development in Addis Ababa

3. Vision

4. SWOT Analysis
4.1 Strength of the City
4.2 Weaknesses of the City
4.3 Opportunities
4.4 Threats

5. Objectives

6. Strategies

7. Urban Actors and Stakeholders



1. Introduction

1.1 Background of Addis Ababa

1.1.1 Physical Context of Addis Ababa

The city of Addis Ababa was founded in 1886 and was named Addis Ababa (“New Flower”) by the Empress Taitu, wife of Emperor Menilek II (reigned 1889–1913) (Encyclopedia Britannica). Addis Ababa is located at the southern foot of Mount Entoto, in the Entoto Mountains, at an elevation of about 8000 feet (2440 meters) above sea level, on a plateau that is crossed by numerous streams and surrounded by hills and mountains, in the geographic center of the country. Mount Yarer overlooks the city from the east and Mount Wochecha from the west (New World of Encyclopedia). The capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, is located at 900030 latitude and 380420E longitude, situated roughly in the center of the country (Embassy of Ethiopia, Berlin, 2017).

According to New World of Encyclopedia (2016) the city possesses a complex mix of highland climate zones, with temperature differences of up to 10°C (50° F), depending on elevation and prevailing wind patterns. The high elevation moderates temperatures year-round, and the city's position near the equator means that temperatures are very constant from month to month. The temperature in January ranges from a high of 68°F (20°C) to a low of 53°F (12°C). As stated by New World of Encyclopedia (2016) the area of the city increased from 85.73 square miles (222.04 square kilometers) in 1984 to 204.7 square miles (530.21 square kilometers) in 1994.

In addition, the physical structure of the city seems not well planned, and many settlements in many parts of the city are haphazard. With this regard Tolon (2008) stated that today’s high-rise apartment and office blocks dot the fronts of the main streets in Addis Ababa, giving a rather misleading impression of a well-built, spacious city. Together with a mixed or apparently well-integrated residential structure, these impressive roadside buildings often effectively mask the predominantly low standards of most housing units and residential neighborhoods.

1.1.2 Socio-Economic Context of Addis Ababa

VisitCapitalCity.com outlined that Addis Ababa is the largest city in Ethiopia and has a population of 4,570,000 people in the metropolitan area. Plus the rapid population growth has created slums. Some areas have 200 people per acre, living in ramshackle attached houses built without regard to sanitation or drainage (New World of Encyclopedia, 2016). The population growth of Addis Ababa is the effect or result of rural-urban and urban to urban migration and natural growth (high rate of productivity). However, the population growth rate and the development level of the city do not match.

In Addis there are three socio-economic groups. These are higher, middle and the lower socio-economic class. The socio-economic difference among these three groups is very wide and even sometimes unbelievable. Those families or individuals who are at the top of the socio-economic pyramid are highly educated, high paid, have large amount of capital, have better acceptance among the community, they get better education, health and other services, they have wide access to technology, and in general, they have a standard quality of life and they live in a very hospitalized attractive living environment. Those middle class families and individuals are educated but got medium payment, they get better education service for their children, they can afford health service charges, and they have access for other service like portable pure drinking water and sanitation, electricity, communication services and the like. And their living condition is not bad.

On the other hand, the lower class families and individuals who are at the very bottom of the socioeconomic pyramid are living in a very bad condition. They live in a highly deteriorated environment. Many of this class do not have their own house and they live in slum. The considerable number of this socio-economic class families and individuals is street dwellers. They have little or no access to education, health, water, electricity, communication and other services since they cannot afford the cost of those services. Those migrants especially from rural areas fall under this socio-economic class.

1.1.3 Politico-Administrative Context of Addis Ababa

Ethiopia has a three-tier government structure: federal, regional and local. The 1995 Federal Constitution officially promulgated and assigned autonomy and functions to federal authorities and the nine autonomous states in the country (World Bank, 2015 as cited in UN-Habitat, 2017:13).

The city of Addis Ababa is granted the same autonomy level as state governments and allowed to establish local structures (sub-cities) and then Woredas as the smallest administration unit and the structural arrangement is thereby formed by the city administration, sub-city, and Woreda. Based on the Ethiopian constitutional framework that offers regional states the autonomy to establish urban local governments at the lowest administrative structures, Addis Ababa has developed an urban local government structure that reflects its dual mandate as a federal capital as well as its autonomous municipal functions (World Bank, 2014 as cited in UN-Habitat, 2017:13).

The dual identity of Addis Ababa, both as a federal capital and an autonomous administration with equivalent status of a ‘State’, contributes to a blurring of roles and responsibilities between the federal and municipal governments. A lot more must be done to clarify the confusing effect of the dual mandate of Addis Ababa. Due to rapid population growth, coupled with unprecedented spatial expansion of Addis Ababa, the city administration could end up shouldering the burden of service delivery; a responsibility beyond its financial and administrative capacity. For this reason, continuous review and adaptation of the urban governance structure of Addis Ababa is required to flexibly delineate roles and responsibilities between the federal government and the Addis Ababa city administration over time and as the realities on the ground dictate (UN-Habitat, 2017:14).

2. Major Issue of Urban Development in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa, as a capital of Ethiopia, is a largest city in Ethiopia. As compared to other cities in Ethiopia Addis Ababa has better infrastructure and better economic base with a larger population. However, despite the availability of better infrastructure, social services and wider economic base, there are various issues that become bottleneck for urban managers to bring the development of the city. From those problems population growth with the influx of a high number of people, horizontal expansion of the city and informal settlement, poverty, unemployment, lack of housing, corruption and increment of natural and human made emergencies are the main hindrance of urban development in Addis Ababa.

By population growth, the population growth is resulted from natural growth (high fertility rate) and migration. Since Addis Ababa is considered as a city with wide job opportunities many people from all sides of Ethiopia (from both rural and urban areas) inflow and influx into Addis Ababa. This population growth in turn becomes a headache to urban managers. Because the population growth creates a greater demand for housing, infrastructures and public services, and the demand is even greater than the city’s capability to provide infrastructure, housing and public services like education, health, water and sewerage, electricity, waste management and so on. This rapid population growth also makes urban (Addis Ababa) managers to focus on the fulfillment of those basic services instead of engaging in other development activities. This, with other bottlenecks, makes Addis Ababa to lag behind other cities in the world and even in Africa. The influx of people to Addis Ababa exacerbates the tension of urban management problems. Those urban management problems include lack of land and housing, unemployment, increment of slum and street dwellers, shortage of portable water supply, poor waste management and poverty.

In addition, the population growth pushes the expansion of the city in to the suburbs and rural areas surrounding the city formally and informally. Those rural communities whose land is taken for urban settlement or who sold their land for urban dwellers become jobless and come into the city as beggars or daily laborer. Plus the horizontal expansion of the city create a great challenge for urban managers in the context of providing infrastructure and basic services like road, portable water supply, health care center, schools and the like. This is because resources are always scarce and it is very difficult to fulfill all those services in the expanded suburbs in third world countries.

Besides, informal settlement is higher in Addis Ababa, and it becomes a very serious problem from time to time. Various people settle in areas that are not supposed to residential settlement. The government of Addis Ababa is destroying or abolishing those informally built houses, and this in turn brings housing crises and loss of resources by the house owners even if houses were informally built.

By the expansion of poverty, Addis Ababa has a very large number of people living under poverty as compared to other large cities in Ethiopia. Since rural-urban (Addis Ababa) and urban-urban migration is larger those migrant become street dwellers without any access to public services and infrastructure. Those migrants especially rural migrant do not have capital or skill to invest on something or to work in any organization or to create their own business. So they become beggars and/or daily laborer. The addition of those poor migrants to the existing poor dwellers (residents) of Addis Ababa increases the intensity of poverty in the city.

In addition to those unskilled migrants, a considerable number of university and college graduates migrate from various parts of Ethiopia into Addis Ababa. And this increases the city’s tension of unemployment. Those migrated graduate have little access to job opportunities, and they become another burden to the city. Unemployment problem is not only for those graduates and youths who migrate from other parts of the country but also for those people who originally live in Addis. This is because there is the imbalance between the number of job opportunities in various private and public sectors and the number of job seekers.

Besides, scarcity of resources is another hindrance. By this it means that youths do not have capital to start their own business and to create job opportunities for others. Actually the city government of Addis Ababa is encouraging young people to get organized and begin small scale businesses and providing some sort of fund/finance that will enable those youngsters to get start and make their own capital. The city government is doing this in order to reduce the rate of youth unemployment. However, not all youths who took this opportunity becomes successful due to skill gap, negligence and other problems, and unemployment is still a problem in Addis like in other cities of Ethiopia. Unemployment makes people not to be able earn income and to cover their living cost. This leads to poverty, and this is a major problem in Addis Ababa.

The other bottleneck for urban development in Addis Ababa is housing. Many people in Addis do not have their own house, and they live in a rent house. The rent of house is getting inflated from time to time. Families and individuals who live in rent house incur half and even more than half of their income for house rent, and this makes them not to get developed and to live in a vicious circle that does not have a way to get out. Even many people who do not have a capacity to pay for house rent live in streets and in a highly deteriorated environment like waste disposal centers. The government is trying to solve housing problems by building many condominiums. But it is not at the satisfactory level. People may take very long time to get their houses from seven up to ten years and even more than that since its construction is taking a protracted time. And even it is not affordable by the poor.

The other deep rooted problem of development is the expansion of corruption. Corruption is deep rooted in Addis from lower level officers up to higher level managers. In various sectors like construction, revenue and custom offices, land management and others officers and top level authorities are considering taking money and other benefits from service seekers as a right. Even the service seekers do not think as they can get the service they want without giving some amount of money for those officials even if it is their right to get is. This indicates as corruption becomes a culture. Plus various funds for various projects from various sources do not employed on the intended purpose. Especially funds for the poor do not get reached to the poor. Instead those funds got in to the pocket of few individuals. With this disease how urban development and social upgrading becomes possible?

The last but not least problem for urban development is the increment of natural and human made emergencies. The most frequently happening natural problem is flood. Those floods are mainly happening due to the absence of well-built drainage system in the city, and those floods are resulting in loose of life and property. On the other hand, the main human made accidents are traffic accident and fire emergencies. As the city get developed from time to time, the nature, type the number of fire accident is also increasing. This is because as technology gets advanced and development of a city increase, the nature and possibilities of emergencies also increase since development and emergencies have positive correlation. And this in turn is deteriorating what the city is trying to build and what it has already built. The absence of separately/independently built road for emergency trucks and vehicles also aggravate the loss of life and property due to fire and other emergencies in the city.

In general, those hindrances make urban and social development in Addis Ababa to be a very challenging task. Therefore, solving those problems must become a priority and development would come by its own way once we address those problems and cure those diseases in a very sustainable manner.

3. Vision

Make Addis Ababa a city which gives a strong support to the rural centers and builds a strong urban- rural as well as urban-urban integration so as to enable rural and other urban centers to build their own socio-economic base that could attract and retain their labour forces and reduce migration to the lowest level, and make Addis Ababa one of the most developed city in Africa by 2030 G.C.

The Vision of Addis Ababa City Administration

Make Addis Ababa one of the five African cities which have strong relationship in country side and international Affairs, to ensure good governance, and make the residents of the city benefits out of the income generated from the development activities in year of 2020 G.C.


Excerpt out of 17 pages


Urban Management in Ethiopia. Promoting Sustainable Urban Development in Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Civil Service University  (College of Urban Development and Engineering)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
ababa, addis, development, ethiopia, management, promoting, sustainable, urban
Quote paper
Emebet Hailemichael (Author), 2018, Urban Management in Ethiopia. Promoting Sustainable Urban Development in Addis Ababa, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/915416


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