As the revised master plan for Addis Ababa enters implementation stage, the clearing of informal structures has stepped up a gear and the focus moved away from the city’s peripheries after mass protests against evictions and displacement there last year.
For as a revised master plan for Ethiopia’s capital enters implementation stage, slum clearance has stepped up a gear and the focus moved away from the city’s peripheries after mass protests against evictions and displacement there last year.
The new plan is restricted to city boundaries and focuses on the city centre where some 360 hectares and over 3,000 homes are slated to be demolished over the next three years, said Million Girma, head of the city’s urban renewal agency, the Land Development and Urban Renewal Agency.
“All eyes are now back on Addis,” said Bisrat Kifle, an architect and urban planning expert based in the capital.
LAND VALUES BOOM
According to UN-Habitat more than 80 percent of Addis Ababa’s inner city is slum, the majority of which is government-owned ‘kebele’ housing dating back decades.
In 2011, the municipality decided to clear all government housing in the city centre to make a modern business district.
The government also extended the nationalisation of urban land and eliminated all remaining forms of transferable and inherited private property in the city.
Renovation programmes intensified in the subsequent years, often with the demolition of entire neighbourhoods.
From 2009 to 2015, the city expropriated about 400 hectares of inner-city land and tore down a total of 23,151 dilapidated houses, according to UN-Habitat.
At the same time land in central Addis Ababa shot up in value, providing an added incentive for rapid re-development, with a lease in the commercial centre of Addis Ababa now costing up to $15,000 per square metre, making urban land in the capital some of the most expensive in Africa.
“There is a high demand for land from private and government investors,” Girma told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “We have to prepare Addis’s land to deliver this.”
In one area, located in the shadow of the new AU (African Union) building, residents evicted in April said their entire neighbourhood was cleared in the space of days.
Read more at Thomson Reuters Foundation