THE ROLE OF URBANIZATION IN THE SOCIO ECONOMIC DEVELOPEMNT PROCESS: Demographic Challenges, Urban growth, Spatial Development and Agriculture
Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of Mrs. Josette DALLANT, the Ambassador of France to Ethiopia, it is my great pleasure indeed to participate in the opening ceremony of this important workshop organized by the Ethiopian Economic Policy Research Institute of the Ethiopian Economic Association on the role of urbanization in the socio economic development process.
For a long time, including in Ethiopia, French Development Aid, as well as other agencies, namely the GTZ, has promoted and supported strategies prioritizing urban development, in the belief that cities are anchorage points for developing economies. This remains a controversial issue at least in Ethiopia.
One should admit that the common objective of the international community and the governments of developing countries to alleviate poverty do not imply a clear and common vision of the role of cities and urban centers regarding economic growth, social and cultural wealth promotion and participation in the global economy.
On the one hand, unemployment, exclusion and poverty as well as poor quality of life in urban centers are matters of concern for donors and authorities. On the other hand, a large majority of the very poor live in rural areas, and addressing rural poverty requires tackling issues of rural density that have clearly become constraints on the environment and agricultural productivity.
In terms of food security, access to health care, education, water, energy and means of communication, the rural / urban divide is wide, and very often, becoming wider over the years. Therefore, nowadays policy makers and development agencies seem willing to focus on rural development. At the same time, cities are equally presented as areas of poverty and wealth. This apparent contradiction hides three different and complementary debates.
1. Urban economy as an engine for growth
What, in the medium term, are the respective roles of urban and rural areas in a developing economy? Can urban economy induce changes in the agriculture economy? Is urban growth an opportunity, an asset or a constraint for a developing country willing to open its economy? What policies could orient and support urban economy?
2. Fast urban growth management as a challenge for local authorities
What resources are available to invest in urban infrastructure? How is urban service provision financed? What institutional set up is required to manage the city with support, involvement and participation of citizens and entrepreneurs? How can poverty creation be avoided in the urban context?
3. Balanced territorial development as a challenge for national authorities.
What national policy is required to achieve a balanced urban growth of the capital as well as secondary cities? How can all regions benefit from urban growth?
Every body understands that Ethiopia, being one of the least urban countries in the world, will face the challenge of the management of consistent urban growth for the coming decades. The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper which is under very active discussions all over the country and the society, with a significant contribution of EEA/EEPRI will bring a mid term framework to tackle poverty and food security. Sponsoring this workshop, the French Cooperation would like to contribute to this national debate
I am quite confident that the exchanges and discussions between French senior experts and Ethiopian academics and stakeholders of urban policy will help to build a common understanding and vision on long-term policy on urban growth management and balanced territorial development.
I also hope that these discussions will help to clarify links between local urban development and poverty alleviation in rural areas.
Your discussions may conclude on needs for further studies, researches, policy analysis and perspectives. Be sure that this Embassy will consider with the utmost interest your reflections and recommendations.
Before concluding, I would like to thank very sincerely everybody for having accepted to come, attend and actively participate in this gathering. The Ethiopian Economic Policy Research Institute of the Ethiopian Economic Association for having organized this meeting, in a very short time and, in the context of non stop PRSP activities and the French experts who accepted to come to Ethiopia in a very short notice and despite very tight agenda.
Finally, I simply would like to say how pleased I am for having been able to facilitate such a gathering of internationally renowned French experts of urban, local and rural economies along with Ethiopian experts. I hope, I am sure; you will enjoy discussions with them.
I wish you a very fruitful work and discussions.
I thank your very much.
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"THE ROLE OF URBANIZATION IN THE SOCIO ECONOMIC DEVELOPEMNT PROCESS"
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|Name of account holder:||Ethiopian Economic Association|
|Account information:||Commercial Bank of Ethiopia,
Arat Kilo Branch,
Account Number 2350
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia