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Hana Akalu Dec 20, 2015

It is estimated that about 20 per cent of the total population of Ethiopia currently lives in urban areas, which has rendered it as one of the least urbanized countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite this low level of urbanization, however, the country has one of the highest rates of urbanization even by the standards of developing countries, which is estimated at 4.1 per cent. This is also much higher than the average growth rate of the total national population, which is estimated at 3 per cent per annum. The level of urbanization has been only 6 per cent in the 1960, which has increased to 11 per cent in 1984 and 14 per cent in 1994, which is estimated to have already reached 17.2 per cent by 2013 and projected to account for 30 per cent of the total population in the year 2025.

At present about 20 % of the population is estimated as living in urban areas. About 60 % of the urban areas are estimated to be slum devoid of basic services. There is thus an equal need for an urban poverty and welfare focus to the strategy for urban development as there is for the functional focus on urban areasí contribution to national economic growth.

The increase in the economic weight of towns in Ethiopia is also reflected in increased concentration of people in urban areas. The increase in urbanization and its potential role requires the creation of a more dynamic non-agricultural economy through raising the profile of the urban agenda as a possible resource for growth and poverty reduction. Recognizing the importance of achieving a balanced urban system would certainly become a necessary concern for government, as it would offer an opportunity for increasing market integration by facilitating exchanges and the division of labor, as well as facilitating partial or complete diversification in the non-agricultural sector. Further, cities could offer the opportunity to deliver services more cheaply and can act as poles of growth, thereby playing an important role in poverty reduction.

The main theme of the National Urban Development policy document is founded on Agricultural Development Led Industrialization (ADLI), Industrial Development Strategy, federalism, democratization, and civil service reform.

According to the policy document, the main challenges facing urban areas in the country are poorly developed social and physical infrastructure; shortage and deterioration of housing; lack of recreation areas, inadequate municipal waste management; absence of well-integrated urban-rural linkage; unbalanced urban growth and weakly developed national and regional urban systems.

The policy gives key emphasis to urban-rural and urban-urban linkages. It emphasizes the importance of democracy and good governance for sustainable urban development. Problems of good governance reflected widely in the lack of accountability, transparency and efficiency among municipal authorities and the sheer of public participation in the decision making process are pointed out as the main obstacles for economic development. The other main areas of concern in this policy document are facilitating the participation of private developers and of the wider public in local economic development issues, establishing accountability and the rule of law, provision of autonomy and power on municipal finance and expenditure to cities.

The overall vision of the policy is to ensure the growth and development of Ethiopian urban centers is guided by plans and to make the cities and towns competitive centers of integrated and sustainable development that are sufficiently responsive to the needs of their inhabitants. The policy aims at enabling cities and towns to function as generators of wealth not only for their inhabitants but also for the rural populations found in their immediate hinterlands and beyond. To do so cities and towns in the nation as a whole are expected to serve as centers of commerce, industry and the services that are essential to bring about holistic and sustainable economic development.

The policy directions are aimed at enabling cities play these roles and bringing about fast and equitable development in general. The policy document spells out specific policy recommendations for Micro and Small Scale Enterprises (MSE), housing development, facilitating land and infrastructure delivery, social services, urban grading, planning and environmental protection, democracy, good governance and capacity building.

According to the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), as regards urban land administration and urban planning that have significant impact on achieving good governance in urban areas activities that greatly improve implementation capacity will be carried out.

Towards this, on the urban planning side focus will be made on the following: promoting proper delineation of urban green areas, beautification, landscape design and urban design works; developing appropriate systems for the management of solid and liquid wastes; carrying out continuous follow up on the control of urban land use plan; ensuring preparation and implementation of plans based on the urban planning law; making urban managers sufficiently aware of urban planning and implementation issues, etc. Strengthening all round participation of the people is paramount important in order to accelerate development and achieve good governance. To realize this, ensure the ownership, and benefit the people from the development, various activities will be carried out.

Key strategic areas for urban development areas are poverty and unemployment reductions. Sustained and integrated development through rural-urban and urban-urban linkages. Participatory engagement of the urban populations in development and governance, forming strong partnershipswith the private sectors, andestablishing effective decentralized administration systems that ensure self rule of cities and towns.

Regarding the development of urban infrastructure, the key strategy is to enhance the capacity of city administrations to plan, provide and manage the supply of urban infrastructure and services. Investments in urban areas have to consider the role and importance of citiesin regional and national social economic development.Infrastructure development should create an environment conducive toaccelerated economic development and equitable distribution of services. To realize fully the potential contribution of towns and cities to the economic and social development, the development and expansion of infrastructure will have to be undertaken through the joint and coordinated efforts of the government, private sector and the public. When infrastructure development activities are carried out, the potential to create wide range of job opportunities and promote micro and small enterprise development ,will always be taken in to consideration.

Low cost housing would also be promoted for low and middle income households particularly in Addis Ababa. The housing development initiatives would result the in creation of new MSEs operating in construction sector, strengthen the existing MSEs and provide huge employment opportunities. The housing program needs to be executed in away it promotes domestic savings, reduce slums and improves the urban environment.

Micro and Small-Scale Enterprises

The key objectives of micro and small scale enterprises development program are to create a broad-based spring-board for competitive domestic industrial and private sector development and also to create employment opportunities and thereby reduce poverty. The programís job creation objective requires integration of the program with huge government projects such as sugar factory, universities, condominium, and cobble stone constructions and other projects such as train network and electric power energy generation. During the GTP, various tasks vital for implementation of the plan and achievements of the targets have been performed besides carrying out the actual development operations directly related to the secondyear goals.

Comprehensive support provided to micro and small scale enterprises helped the enterprises to create employment opportunities for about 6,134,476 operators, of which 40% are women. Achievement of this target automatically enhanced citizensí income and contributed to rise in domestic saving of the country. Increasing the efficiency and productivity of Micro and Small Scale Enterprise operators necessitate continuous training.

Training has been conducted for about 6,091,292 operators on entrepreneurship, business management and other technical skills. In addition, TOT is given to 15,106 members. Moreover, for newly organized operators in all cities a total of 233,676,173 hectares of land has been provided. For production and market, 24,787shades and 824 blocks have been constructed and transferred to operators.

Integrated Housing Development

Integrated housing development program is aimed to reduce housing shortages and to increase job opportunities. During the GTP, it was planned to construct and transfer 396,000 housing units in Addis Ababa and completion and transfer of all condominium houses under construction in all regions at the start of the plan period. As a result, 241,169 housing units are under construction in Addis Ababa and preparations are completed to start the construction of 55000 new houses. It has been planned to shrink the slum areas of Addis Ababa to 15% from the base year level of 60%. Hence, the city government of Addis Ababa took remarkable measures to downsized to 4 5%.

Last month, the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MoUDH) announced plans to build more than 700,000 condominium houses during the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II) period.

In this fiscal year alone, some 40,000 such housing units are expected to be handed over to beneficiaries in Addis Ababa. The government is expected to build 430,000 residential units while more than 243, 000 would be constructed by cooperatives and real estate developers. 

Urban Infrastructure Development

Urban Infrastructure Development Program is developed with the aim of reducing poverty through creation of lot of employment, strengthens the capacity of cities to self-govern themselves and improved public participation. In sum, the program is expected to promote good governance in urban areas.

One of the objectives in this regard is to ensure the provision of quality urban infrastructure services. In this regard, it was planned to improve urban main and feeder roads, improve urban sanitary services, and develop industry zones and market centers. During the GTP, a total of 3,146.3 km cobble-stone roads, 3,472km drainage networks, 11,206 shades have been constructed.

Construction Industry Development

The GTP is envisaged implementation of number of huge construction activity both by the government and private interventions. This construction projects demands high caliber construction and consultancy capacity. The plan is therefore the creation of locally as well as internationally competent consultants and contractors in terms of cost, quality, and time. The objective in this regard is creating conducive environment so as to increase the competency of the construction companies at national and international level. These objectives are envisaged to be achieved by improving the supply of construction material, by strengthening the human resources and improving the regulatory system of the industry.

During the GTP, the capacity building of consultants and organizing of small and medium level contractors. Accordingly, 132 construction sector consultants are capacitated and 752 small and medium level contractors are organized. Besides, 1287consultants, 3,045 contractors and 11,445 construction machineries are registered per annum.

Urban Capacity Building

The GTP objective related with urban capacity building is to ensure accountability and transparency in governmental operations, working procedures and systems. In addition, emphasis is given to capacity building that supports the implementation of governmentís policies, strategies, and programs.

One of the targets of the GTP in this regard is to build the capacity of top leadership management in all regions. The Urban Good Governance Program is therefore targeted to build the capacity of federal, regional and cities level government administrators to ensure effective working environment for better implementation of GTP. In line with this targets, during the GTP, 51,218 participants drawn from all regions and cities administrators, city mayors and employees and counselors, were given training with the objective of bringing effective and efficient leadership at all levels of government structure.

Moreover, 1,502 postgraduate professionals are on training at Ethiopian Civil Service University Urban Management Program to be deployed to federal, regional, and local level urban institutions. Furthermore, municipality employees and sartorial professionals were given skill enhancement training with the objective of assisting them to be more responsive to public demands and to capacitate them to implement government policies, strategies, and programs in an efficient, effective, transparent, and accountable manner. To sum up, during the GTP, a total of 213,667 city administrators and civil servants have been trained on both short and long-term courses.

Land Development and Management

The main objective of good governance is to enhance transparency and accountability with the intention that, none tolerance for corruption. It is then inferred that, modern urban land management system will be developed and that the urban spatial planning system will be improved to ensure that land is used economically and in a transparent and accountable manner.

The major targets of this program are to develop and implement land and land related information management system, improve land use management and administration system, improve urban planning and implementation and build the capacity of executives and top managements in urban administration. Accordingly, during the GTP model laws that will assistthe implementation of the land lease proclamation was developed and made ready for use. The newly prepared lease proclamation is approved and awareness creation to the public has launched through different medias.††

The other target of the GTP was the establishment of land institutions at regional levels. Hence, several land management information system project offices are established. Concerning improvement of land use management and administration system 69,699 hac. land is serviced and ready for different types of investment. From the total land prepared for different purposes, 7552.3 hac. land is prepared for hosing and related construction and 6732.3 hac. for micro and small scale enterprises and manufacturing industries.

Indeed, much remains to be done in urban management, development as Ethiopia is bound to face rapid urban growth, and this requires proactive management and long-term planning. That is the reason the GTP II, which is to be implemented in the next five years, has given priority to fostering the governance and management of rapid urbanization.

As the GTP II document specified, "particular emphasis will be given to increase job opportunity, address housing problems, improved contribution to the agriculture sector productivity through strong backward and forward linkage with rural development.

"Similarly, due attention will be given for infrastructure developments, road, water, electricity as well as adequate solid and liquid waste disposal management system. In addition, due attention will be given on building climate resilient urban centers, decentralized urban administration and finance and revenue collection system. Urban management capacity will be strengthened.

In general, by strengthening pro-active planning and management urban centers will deliver indispensable contribution to rapid economic growth and structural transformations that Ethiopia seeks."

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