• Total value of UN-Habitat investments (2008-2013): US$ 3,631,600
  • Total number of UN-Habitat projects (2008-2013): 2 projects
  • Main donors: UNEP/GEF and Spain
  • Implementing partners: UNEP/GEF, UNEP/DTIE, ITDP, TRL, UITP, GIZ, World Bank, AFD

In the period between 2008-2013, UN-Habitat only had regional projects in Ethiopia.

General information

Capital: Addis Ababa

Major cities: Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Mek’ele, Gondar, Awasa

  • Population: 91.73 million
  • GDP: US$ 41.61 billion
  • GDP growth: 8.5%
  • Urban population (annual %): 17%
  • Population growth rate (average annual %): 2.6%
  • Urban population growth rate (average annual %): 4.1%
  • Rural population growth rate (average annual %): 2.3%

Source: World Bank 2012

UN-Habitat projects in Ethiopia

Bus rapid transit stations, Addis Ababa

The rapid urbanisation in Ethiopia requires that urban infrastructure is built, operated and maintained in an integrated manner. The city administration has recognized that public space is inadequately and unsystematically addressed.  In this project, UN-Habitat will: • Support the revision of the master plan (mainly in the areas of urban transport planning, centrality and market hierarchy, and green spaces). • Conduct a public space survey and assessment of Addis Ababa. • Support the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) programmes by enhancing the stations and exchanges (interconnection points) as public spaces. • Implement at least 2 pilot projects targeting the BRT and LRT lines. • Provide design guidelines for the train and bus stations. • Provide capacity development and training to key city staff.

Project Duration: 2015 - ongoing
Value USD: 80,000
Donor: Mojang
Implementing Partners: City of Addis Ababa

Promoting Sustainable Transport Solutions for East African Cities (GEF-SUSTRAN)

Objective of the project: The project “Promoting Sustainable Transport Solutions for East African Cities” aims to reduce growth in private motorized vehicles, thus reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions in the three capital cities of Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya.

The overall goal of this project is to create the technical and institutional basis for implementing sustainable metropolitan transport networks and systems and establish a demonstration corridor for sustainable urban mobility. The project is expected to support the governments in providing safe, efficient, and equitable transport to all residents, rich and poor.

Service sectors covered by the project include:Transport,Planning ,Energy, and Legislation.

The methodology: The envisaged strategic response is to upgrade the public transport systems, implement improved non-motorized transport infrastructure (such as bicycle lanes and walkways) and apply travel demand management (e.g. parking reform) as well as spatial development strategies to reduce travel.

Starting with small steps in each city seems to be the most feasible approach. It is therefore the aim of this project to also support each government in establishing a first sustainable transport corridor, which can serve as a demonstration example and act as a catalyst towards expanding the proposed networks and measures throughout each city.

  • Duration:October 2010 to December 2016
  • Value: USD 7,335,000
    • Global Environment Facility (GEF) - USD 3,000,000;
    • Co-financing (UN-Habitat, UNEP, ITDP, World Bank Kampala - USD 3,485,000;
    • In kind (UN-Habitat, UNEP, ITDP, GTZ, TRL) - USD 850,000
  • Donor:Global Environment Facility (GEF)
  • Implementing Partners:UN-Habitat, UNEP, Governments of Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, through respective ministries. Institute for Transport and Development Policy (ITDP), Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), German Organisation for International Cooperation (GIZ), First African Bicycle Information Organisation (FABIO), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) 

Promoting Sustainable Transport Solutions for East African Cities  

To create the technical and institutional basis for implementing metropolitan sustainable transport networks and systems and establish a demonstration corridor for sustainable mobility.    

  • Duration: January 2011 - December 2015    
  • Value: US$ 2,850,000    
  • Donor: UNEP/GEF Secretariat - Kenya   
  • Implementing partners: UNEP/GEF, UNEP/DTIE, ITDP, TRL, UITP, GTZ, WORLD BANK, AFD    
  • Location:Addis Ababa (part of regional project in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda)

Programme Empowering Urban Women Entrepreneurs Through Housing Development and Land Ownership in Ethiopia and Mozambique

To establish a revolving fund for affordable land and housing development; (ii) to implement a pilot housing project in a selected expansion area of Manica; and (iii) to establish a credit guarantee fund to facilitate the process.

  • Duration: April 2008 - December 2012   
  • Value: US$ 781,600    
  • Donor: Spain      
  • Location: part of regional project in Ethiopia and Mozambique


Residents of Harar town in Ethiopia line up for water. © UN-Habitat


Since 1998, the UN-Habitat has implemented a number of projects in Ethiopia. Key areas of partnership include: Capacity Building for Sustainable Urban Development, Implementation of the Habitat Agenda, Integrating Local Development Planning and Slum Upgrading in Urban Policy,  Cities without Slums, Water for African Cities Programme - Phases I and II, Promoting Sustainable Transport Solutions for East Africa (SUSTRAN), Support to the improvement of Public Spaces in Addis Ababa,  Supporting the Ethiopian Cities Sustainable prosperity Goals (ECSPGs),  and Development of the State of Addis Ababa Report.

Population (2018)
107.5 million
Total value of projects
US$ 10,650,872
No. of projects (2014 - 2019)
Total: 9

Ethiopia is undergoing rapid urbanization. The country’s urban population is growing at more than five percent a year driven primarily by dramatic rural to urban migration. Key urban challenges include:

  • Lack of affordable housing;
  • Lack of strategic planning;
  • Uncontrolled spatial growth;
  • Lack of economic opportunities;
  • Increased traffic congestion;
  • Poor sanitation standards and lack of waste management strategy;

Inequality, urban unemployment, and urban poverty.

76 mayors, city managers and academics from 20 cities were trained on sustainable urbanization and housing policies
The rehabilitation of Koshe dumpsite benefits the surrounding 50,000 residents by reducing the risk of landslides and methane gas exposure
Urban numbers
The urban population annual growth rate is 4.67%
The percentage of the total population that is urban is 20.31%

“This project has positively impacted my work and the community living next to the dump site. The situation has significantly changed “

Brook Tesgaye, Waste management worker in Koshe, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia

Leaving no one and no place behind

Hover over or click the icons to learn about UN-Habitat's work on social inclusion here.

The prioritisation of human rights addresses the structural causes of inequalities and discrimination in an integrated manner. Urbanisation can only be sustainable if it is human rights based, and living conditions can only be improved for all if everyone’s human rights are comprehensively promoted and protected. UN-Habitat applies the Human-Rights Based Approach to address inequalities and discrimination, reaching the furthest behind first by placing power relationships in human settlements at the heart of its analysis and action.

Human rights icon

Men and women, boys and girls experience cities in very different ways, and face various challenges and needs that cities have to address. UN-Habitat promotes the stronger commitment of national and local governments as well as other relevant stakeholders to work towards the realization of a world in which men and women are recognized as equal partners in development and enjoy equal human rights so that economically productive, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable cities and other human settlements can be achieved more rapidly, completely and sustainably.

Gender icon

Youth, children and older persons, especially those in situations of particular risk of marginalization, such as girl child and female-headed households, are often excluded from access to housing, urban basic services, public spaces and infrastructure, and the overall benefits of urbanization. Young women and men have been a key focus of UN-Habitat’s work. The agency has successfully advocated for the role of youth as leaders in sustainable urban development, recognizing the guiding principle of the SDGs of “leaving no one behind,” and the New Urban Agenda vision of cities for all. 

Children icon

Sustainable urban development can only be achieved if persons with disabilities are included meaningfully in decision-making and are able to access their rights. UN-Habitat partners with representative groups and individual rights holders, as well as national and local governments, relevant UN bodies and civil society to maximize impact and to meaningfully ensure that the rights including accessibility and universal design of persons with disabilities are promoted, respected and protected. 

Disability icon

Donors and partners

The success of our work in Ethiopia is dependent on the successful partnership, particularly with regional and local authorities. UN-Habitat’s work on solid waste management is done together with the city administrations of Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar. The city government of Hawassa is also a crucial partner for the project related to the sustainable development of the city cluster. The type of partnership that UN-Habitat promotes in Ethiopia is to ensure local ownership and on the job training.


United Kingdom
Bahir City Administration
Hawassa City
Bahir Dar City


Aklilu Fikresilassie
Habitat Program Manager
Ethiopia Country Office

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