Rapid Urbanization and Housing Shortage in Africa: : The Opportunity within the Problem for Ethiopia
On February 2010, in a conference on the future of cities in London, United Nation‟s head of housing agency Anna Tibaijuka proclaimed that
"After HIV and Aids, the biggest threat to sustainable development in Africa is rapid and chaotic urbanisation, because it is a recipe for disaster for increased tensions and pressure" (MacLellan, 2010). It is truly unfortunate that a word like urbanization that for centuries has represented better living standards and growth is now viewed as a threat to sustainable growth and likened to an incurable disease. When people move to urban cities in search of a better life, they deserve to find something better than what they left behind and that is what justifies this research. The purpose of this paper is to find ways on how best to direct rapid urbanization in Ethiopia towards becoming a resource rather than a source of chaos. A comprehensive literature review complemented by a questionnaire survey distributed to real estate developers in Ethiopia was conducted as part of the qualitative research method adapted. The finding of the research show that Ethiopia has one of the highest proportions of urban population living in slums and housing deficit is at an all-time high. The government has introduced a number of policies and is trying to provide housing for low-income people while the private sector in the real estate industry is mainly meeting the needs of high-income people. The study found that this division in task will eventually lead to the segregation of the city into rich and poor neighborhoods that will ultimately make matters worse. The study also showed that with the adaption of policies that allow for the integration and collaboration of the government, the private sector and the people; opportunities of creating a conducive living environment for all income groups exist.
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