With an urbanisation rate of approximately 4% per annum, Ethiopia has one of the fastest growing urban populations in Africa. An estimated 12 million people, accounting for 16% of the total population, are urban dwellers with numbers rising. In Ethiopia, as in many other countries, increasing urbanisation presents city administrations with several challenges such as providing adequate and qualitative infrastructure and social services to urban populations
Against the above backdrop, the Ethiopian government is implementing a wide scale of urban reforms, which focus on intertwining cities’ development with building good governance. Cities are in the process of implementing various reforms towards delivering better services to their citizens, including improvements relating to good governance, improved service delivery, urban poverty alleviation and the reduction of slums.
Given the above context, the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction in 2009 established the Ethiopian Cities Week (formerly the Ethiopian Cities Day) to serve as a forum for policymakers’, authorities, stakeholders and cities to exchange experiences, and create awareness about urban development initiatives.
The Cities’ Week is an annual event and is organised by the MUDC, the Ethiopian Cities’ Association, and a host city, which is chosen at the end of every cities week.
The general objective of the Ethiopian Cities’ Week is to popularise the nation’s urban agenda to the public at large, including urban residents and relevant stakeholders, and create awareness on urban development initiatives.
As a national event, the Cities’ Week aims at establishing a platform for experience exchange and learning among cities to encourage a healthy and competitive atmosphere among Ethiopian urban centres. Accordingly, it helps them boost their reform efforts towards better service delivery for their citizens.
The ECW is furthermore concerned with compiling and expanding good practices and experiences registered in the development process of cities. It also enables cities to benefit from investment and tourism opportunities by highlighting their potentials and conducive environments. In doing so, the Ethiopian Cities’ Week is concerned with speeding up the implementation of the Urban Development Policy and other urban development programs to help contribute towards accelerated development. Resultant to this will be a sense of ownership and participation of the public in urban development.
So far, four Ethiopian Cities Weeks have been held in various cities, namely Addis Ababa, Hawassa, Mekelle and Adama respectively. The fifth Ethiopian Cities Week will be celebrated in Bahir Dar, from November 20 – 27, 2013.
Please find below the reports of the Ethiopian Cities Week events held up until now.