Sheltering the Left-Out Families of Slum Redevelopment in Addis Ababa

Adem Borri Ondakie


Addis Ababa has experienced development endeavors under three different ideology phases since its founding. The political economy of the city has gone through imperial, socialist and market-oriented systems of governance. Throughout the time, the city did not stop growing fast as population continued to pour in from other urban and rural areas in addition to the natural population increase for many decades. In the course of expanding, geographically and demographically, basic urban services fell short of serving the population leading to over-crowdedness, insanitary and shanty neighborhoods, inadequate and limited coverage of drinking water, dilapidated buildings and severe shortage of housing, unemployment and deep poverty, and so forth. Eventually, the City Administration of Addis Ababa initiated a comprehensive redevelopment of the city on a massive scale. Among others, the redevelopment/renewal of slum neighborhoods with new housing for the poor was most notable. Old decrepit neighborhoods have been cleared and new developments have been coming in – giving the city a better physical image. Slums have been transformed and some affected residents have moved into newly developed housing delivered under the popularly-known pro-poor condominium scheme. However, there are strong indications that the program is failing in meeting its important goal of housing the poor due to inability to financially access the scheme. Consequentially, those households left-out are losing hope of ever securing a decent shelter in the city. The objective of this article is to identify practical solutions to help affected households shelter themselves in the city they lived for decades, but where opportunities are speedily shrinking. The article looks at the general approaches of the redevelopment/renewal program to reflect on some prior steps to reframe the housing scheme for a better redevelopment of the city whereby its low-income residents can be adequately covered. The article draws from a study of both quantitative and qualitative data comprising primary and secondary data. For the primary data families who were relocated from slum neighborhoods to alternative Kebele[1] (ward) houses were identified and selected for interview. Woreda and sub-city heads and experts were purposively contacted for interview. The results shed light on roles to be played by various development partners to help the poor and left-out families of the society to house themselves under the ongoing development initiatives.

Keywords: Slums, Redevelopment/Renewal, housing, left-out families

[1] Kebele (ward) houses are government owned houses and with very low rental fee

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