The Seventh Public Lecture of the Academy titled “The Development of Cities, Predicaments and their Future Direction” was held on Thursday June 1/2017 at Addis Ababa University.
The lecture was delivered by Professor Tegegne Gebre Egziabher, who is a Fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences and Professor of Regional and Urban Development and Planning at Addis Ababa University.
Professor Masresha Fetene, Executive Director of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences chaired the lecture.
In his opening remark, Professor Tegegne summarized the status of different cities in Ethiopia during different regimes. He explained the growth of different cities supported by maps and graphs. Prof. Tegegne also highlighted Ethiopia’s urbanization level in comparison with other African countries and stated it as ‘one of the lowest’.
The core reasons for the growth of cities were presented in depth. Natural growth, expansion of cities and administrative measures leading for the rural areas to be converted into cities and migration were mentioned as the major ones. More than half of the population of a significant number of cities is made up of inhabitants that migrated from rural areas for example in Adama (45%), Asosa (68.1%), Bahir Dar (55.6%).
In terms of predicament faced by Ethiopian cities, Professor Tegegne stated that low level of urbanization and poor linkage with industries, poor urban system, gap between policy institutes and peoples demand and vulnerability to natural disasters as the major obstacles that can hinder Ethiopian cities from being favorable living environment.
Finally, Prof. Tegegne expressed that, to overcome the challenges faced by Ethiopian cities, urbanization strategies should be people-centered and strive to be a comfortable, inclusive and secure. Cities need to cater to the needs of their inhabitants and should accommodate the increasing flow of rural-urban migration in order to be potential transformation agents.
The presentation was followed by a discussion session in which Professor Masresha summarized the core points of the presentation. The lecture triggered comments and questions from many of the participants.
The Ethiopian Academy of Sciences organizes public lectures on the last Thursday of every month in Ethiopian Calendar in a bid to foster scientific culture and innovation. The topic for the next public lecture to be held on July 6 is about “Quality Products; what are the marks of quality”. The lecture will be delivered by Professor Daniel Kitaw, an industrial engineer at the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, University (AAU).