Urban Governance With Respect to Cities’ Competitiveness in Ethiopia: the Cases of Dire Dawa and Hawassa Cities

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Addis Ababa University


The general objective of the study was to investigate the urban governance system in respect of competitiveness in Ethiopia. Dire Dawa and Hawassa were used as case studies to examine the urban governance system and the performance of the urban competitiveness. The study has employed a mixed research approach and descriptive case study as a research method. Both primary and secondary data were gathered from public, private and civic society organizations operating in the case areas. The urban governance system and urban competitiveness are interrelated and interdependent. The urban government in Ethiopia has administrative power to furnish both the province and municipal affairs and they have the Power to generate and collect their own revenue within the frameworks that were delineated by law regardless of the high intervention of the federal government on urban matters. The analysis concludes that, governance structure of the cities, the absence of institutional and legal mechanism to promote the NSA‟s involvement and the less autonomous power of urban government in making laws and policies would affect the competitiveness of cities, while the location and being the center of political and administrative seats of the state contributes more to enhance cities‟ competitiveness. In addition, the urban government system in Ethiopia is highly dominated by the state actors in which the NSAs did not have the adequate bargaining power to express their preference in urban development plans and policies. As a result, the coalition between the state and non-state actors depends on the downward relationship of implementation of urban development policies and obtaining the commitment of the non-state actors. Coordination for the sake of enhancing economic growth and competitiveness has been absent in both cities studied. As a result of the centralized policy making process, the cities haven‟t used policies and laws as an instrument to attract investment to their territories, and more than 93 % of investments were concentrated in Addis Ababa. A key contribution of this dissertation is the recognition of how the governance process influences the policy decision-making process and how this may relate to the economic performance of cities‟ in enhancing competitiveness. Finally, There are varying explanations for why individual cities have done good or bad, but it might be required to investigate further why the disparity has created between Addis Ababa and other major cities like Hawassa, Dire Dawa, Mekelle, Bahir Dar and etc in attracting and retaining investments. These might be issues for further research. (Key Issues: Urban Government, Urban Governance, Urban Competitiveness)



Urban government, Urban governance, Urban Competitiveness