Monday, August 04, 2014

Addis Ababa Doubling in Size Gives Africa Another Hub

(Aug 04, 2014, (Bloomberg))--Ethiopia, Africa’s fastest-growing economy, is looking to its capital to help sustain an expansion that averaged more than 10 percent a year in the past decade.

Planners predict the population of Addis Ababa and five satellite towns will more than double by 2040 to 8.1 million, highlighting United Nations estimates that Africa’s global share of urban dwellers will double to 20 percent in the next 35 years.

Planners envisage developing an area 20 times the current boundaries of the city. Ambitions for mass transport match the standard of central Paris, ensuring every resident lives within 500 meters (0.3 miles) of a bus or train ride to the center.

One of its new residents would be Bekele Feyissa, a 45-year-old father of six who farms cereals on a plot in Sebeta. The town is about 20 kilometers south of the center and is set to be swallowed by the city. “If the city grows, it will be good for us as we will get electricity,” Bekele said, standing in the shade of a hedge as a donkey pulled a cart along an unpaved road beside him.

The government’s plan for Addis Ababa is critical to its aspirations for developing into a middle-income country in about a decade, mirroring efforts by Kenya and Zambia. The continent’s economic potential will be highlighted as U.S. President Barack Obama hosts more than 40 African leaders at a summit in Washington next week. Read more from Bloomberg »

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