Minister's statement Minister's statement
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Statement of the Minister

The Ministry of Urban Development & Housing (MUDHo) is entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring proper and planned growth of urban centers with adequate infrastructure, amenities and services to the citizens. The Ministry is also mandated to frame policies, strategies and programs that would help to establish Green, Resilient and Well Governed Cities that support a transformation from a predominantly agricultural nation to a country with a rapidly growing industrial sector that contributes to the economic growth necessary to achieve middle income country status by 2025. The fundamental challenges faced by Ethiopia in general – which are problems concerning development and good governance – are also key challenges faced by Ethiopia's urban centers. Our urban centers are characterized by high level of unemployment, lack of basic infrastructures, inadequate quantity and quality of social services, critical shortage of housing unbalanced growth and shortage of recreational centers and incidence of pollution due to a number of interwoven challenges. Although much has been achieved in the last decade, our urban centers still have challenges in exercising/deepening democracy and ensuring good governance, which is of course a cumulative effect of all of the above mentioned challenges. The Ministry is, therefore, trying its best to discharge its responsibilities to bring about rapid, sustainable and equitable development in urban areas through the implementation of the ten broader pillars and 12 programs of the Urban Development and Housing sector in collaboration with local and international development partners. In the process of succeeding to the goal of reaching middle income economic status by 2025 and the envisioned economic transformation, urban centers are expected to play pivotal roles being planned, clean, resilient, safe and green centers of investment, industrial production, tourism, exchange and thereby being sources of employment opportunities and various sorts of agglomeration possibilities. Therefore, effective urban management that could encourage proliferation of industrial establishments, employment opportunities and efficient mobility of economic agents is fundamental for our country. In order to achieve the targets set in the United Nations Development Goal No. 11, and sustainable urban development, proper urban planning and its well managed implementation are bases for efficient land management and harmonious arrangement of services so as to make the use of urban spaces more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Hence, urban planning becomes one of the heavy-weighted pillars of our National Urban Development Policy (NUDPE). As clearly ratified in the NUDPE rapid, sustainable and equitable development can only be realized by implementing integrated urban development that is anchored in employment generating enterprises development. Expansion of micro and small enterprises is considered to be a corner stone of our urban development efforts. Therefore, all our urban development programs are designed in such a way that jobs are created for the urban poor with special attention for the youth and women. Hence, their implementation has been playing a role in the reduction of urban poverty. As a result, in the last 12 years, the sector has created more than 10 million permanent and temporary job opportunities and life supporting income generating possibilities. The other fundamental mission of the ministry is establishing modern urban land management system. Since land is a scarce resource that should be utilized economically for promoting investment and industrialization, the improvement of urban land administration is one of the major areas that have been given due attention by the ministry. Therefore, as part of its core mandate to support and facilitate urban development in Ethiopia, Ministry of Urban Development and Housing has identified urban land management, land information and real property registration as a key area of focus in the Second Growth and Transformation Plan. The ongoing cadastral and real property registration program is a step forward for establishing a more comprehensive land information system. The project is expected to establish modern land information database and management system to realize transparent, efficient and effective service delivery and modernize land the system of land supply that is transparent and accountable to the public targeting at and hence blocking rent seeking activities. The implementation of housing development program in urban areas is another area of focus. Because of a high rate of urbanization, the demand for housing is rising dramatically. Since the market is immature to deliver a sufficient number of housing units that are affordable for the needy, government takes the responsibility for providing low cost housing to poorest families. The government was able to construct more than 385,000 government supported houses since the start of government supported housing program. Currently, more than 137 thousand houses are under construction in Addis Ababa alone. However, housing for the majority of Ethiopian urban residents is still a rented cubicle or a hut in a squatter settlement or shanty villages. But, the newly introduced housing program facilitating house ownership for the people is to give citizens a tangible asset in the country and a stake in the effort of nation-building. This house ownership also improves the residents' economic, social and political stability. In spite of offering various housing provision modalities, the future focus of the government is to expand the provision of low-cost housing through the modality of housing cooperatives. In doing so, the ministry together with regional governments provides the necessary support so that the construction of new low-cost housing by housing cooperatives could be implemented harmonious to the active plan of the respective urban centers. Development and good governance are amongst the critical issues in the Ethiopian urban centers. Ensuring rapid, equitable and sustainable development is essential in promoting democratization and building good governance. Therefore, local governments should provide comprehensive, efficient, transparent and accountable services at all levels and should also ensure continuous improvements in their service delivery. It is also important that urban local governments are staffed by employees and officials who are free from corruption and procrastination. In this regard, the ministry has provided a series of capacity building programs for regional as well as city level managers and experts that would help to build democratic and developmental urban governments that have adequate implementing capacity, commitment to tackle rent seeking activities observed at all levels and thereby prove its legitimacy to its residents/communities through concrete actions and inspiring results. In doing so, the main strategy of financing developmental plans of urban centers is to use their own sources of revenue. In spite of the existing supports from external sources for some of the cities and towns, enhancing revenue generating and collecting capacity of urban centers and thereby financing developmental activities from own source is the strategic as well as sustainable solution. Hence, broadening tax bases, effective collection of urban revenue and efficient utilization of all sorts of resources are also at the core of our efforts, which only happen through effective public participation with the guidance of committed and capable leadership. For the successful accomplishment of the long standing mission of the ministry in general and the National Growth and Transformation Plan in particular, our overall efforts should be augmented by massive public contribution. During the implementation of the ambitious targets of the urban sector, it is quite important to promote the participation of the public in the development activities and make citizens/residents both the owners and beneficiaries of various developmental initiatives. Besides, we also need to further strengthen the productive engagement of the private sector as well as local and international development partners in the sectoral development endeavor of our country, Ethiopia. In conclusion, mobilizing all the potential development forces and gathering momentum around urban agendas, the MUDHo of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia will continue striving to make our cities and towns safe, resilient, inclusive, clean, green, and beautiful centers of production and exchanges, along with making them conducive agglomeration of dwellers as well as joyful recreational destinations of tourists. Ambachew Mekonnen (PhD)