Inclusive Urbanisation Sustains Development

It is common to see people arguing that the ruling Revolutionary Democrats are yet to get used to the flashy lights of urban centres. Strictly speaking, this comment is all about the relationship between the ruling elite and the capital city, Addis Abeba. It so happens that, over the past 25 years, the city has had no Mayor born and raised within its boundaries.

City Hall, as the Addis Abeba City Administration is informally dubbed, has always been headed by somebody born and raised in rural Ethiopia. For critics who relate governance with knowing the mindset of citizens, then, this is an indication that EPRDF is not a progressive party.

In reading between the lines, one can see the popular perception about urbanization and modernization in the nation of 90 million. Even after 25 years since the downfall of the military-socialist junta, the Dergue, and 13 years since Ethiopia’s economy jumped on the bandwagon of growth, urbanization is all about Addis Abeba, much as modernity is about being born and raised in the city.