Promoting green urban industrialisation in Ethiopia

African economies are looking to achieve high levels of economic growth in the next few decades, predominantly in growing urban centres. By 2035, roughly half of Africa’s population will live in its rapidly expanding cities. This transition presents significant opportunities for development: supporting structural transformation, job creation, poverty alleviation and increasing quality of lives. However, many countries have so far struggled to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by growth and urbanisation. Moreover, if not properly managed, growth and urbanisation threaten to lock African economies into carbon-intensive development pathways and place huge demands on communities, infrastructure, services and the environment Industrialisation is seen as one of the most efficient pathways to achieving rapid growth and job creation, and many countries are developing industrial parks to attract and accelerate investment in designated areas, agglomerating investment in specific industries around the country while decreasing the dominance of capital cities. Ethiopia is one example of where this is happening, with a focus on 10 urban ‘clusters’ and a programme of industrial park development. A recent CDKN study across the towns of Kombolcha and Mek’ele in Ethiopia, both of which host new industrial parks, investigated the hypothesis that taking a corridor approach to urban-industrial development can support more sustainable patterns of urban growth.

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