The old and the new Addis Ababa side by side photo: Charlie Rosser for The Guadian
The city of Addis Ababa is running out of space
Tigrai Online, Dec 4, 2017
As more and more of Ethiopia’s 100 million inhabitants – 80% of whom still live in the countryside – spill into Addis Ababa, strains on the city’s land have intensified. The consequences may be explosive. “Addis Ababa has run out space,” says Felix Heisel, an urban expert at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. Though the state theoretically owns all land, seizing it from farmers like Haile can cause problems. The “masterplan” – shelved last year – to develop farmland belonging to Oromia, the region that surrounds the capital, was the catalyst for widespread anti-government protests that led to the declaration of a nine-month state of emergency. Expanding the city is for now out of the question.
Financed entirely by public resources and without the support of foreign donors, the condominium programme has, however, won its fair share of plaudits. “It represents a commitment to social housing that is rarely seen in Africa,” says Patrick Lamson-Hall of New York University. “It shows other African nations that Africa can solve its own problems,” agrees Alazar Ejigu, an Ethiopian architect and urban planner based in Sweden.
The government should start moving its investment into other parts of the country instead of piling it up in Addis Ababa. Doing so will help curb the flow of people to the capital and develop the other cities and towns to sustain the local population. On top of that investors will be attracted to invest in other places other than Addis Ababa so the local farmers wouldn’t lose their farm land and avoid conflict with the government.