Addis Ababa 29 June 2017-- The City Administration of Addis Ababa and UN-Habitat jointly launched the State of Addis Ababa 2017 Report – The city we want’ on 27 July 2017. The report was developed following a Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Addis Ababa and UN-Habitat to collaborate on a number of initiatives aimed at strengthening the capacity of the City Administration to plan and manage the rapid pace of urbanization. The preparation of the report was made possible by financial support from the Swedish Embassy in Addis Ababa.

The report sheds light on the impacts of on-going rapid pace urbanization in Ethiopia on the dynamics of Addis Ababa's economic development; on the state of social services delivery, including housing for the poor; and on the deteriorating state of the urban environment and its potential negative impact on future economic growth.

It notes at the outset that, over the past two decades, more progress has been made in managing urbanization in Addis Ababa than over the previous 130 years of the city's existence. “While enormous challenges still remain, notably in the provision of affordable housing, efficient water and sanitation supply, affordable and efficient transport system, the creation of adequate job opportunities, and in tackling a myriad of environmental challenges, there is a demonstrated and expressed commitment from the City Administration, with the support of the federal government, to transform Addis Ababa as a hub of innovation, economic production, and as a culturally diverse and environmentally sustainable capital city,” the report notes.

On the other hand, however, the report points out that the limited institutional and responsive capacity of the City Administration to both emerging risks and opportunities. The tremendous effort that went into improving 'hardware' in infrastructure over the past 15 years has not been accompanied by a similar effort to strengthen the 'software' aspects of economic and political governance that are so critical for building a competitive, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable Addis Ababa. The report recommends that more effort should be made to improve urban planning, strengthen institutional and human capacity, and open up space for citizens participation in decision-making.

The launch event was attended by a wide audience including government officials from the Federal Ministries and the Addis Ababa City Administration, representatives from UN agencies, development partners and universities.

The acting Resident Coordinator, Mr. George Okutho, Director of the ILO Country Office for Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan and Special Representative to the AU and ECA said that: “ ‘urban’ has become the agenda of the Ethiopian Government as highlighted in the Second Growth and Transformation Plan. As such, it is also recognized in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework for Ethiopia.”

UN-Habitat, the leading UN programme on sustainable urbanization, is committed to support Ethiopia’s sustainable urban development process. In this spirit, the report was produced which Kazumi Ogawa, Chief, Office of the Executive Director, commended as an inspiration for continuing the transformation of Addis Ababa into a role model for managing the rapid urbanization to unlock its potential for structural transformation in Africa.