In Ethiopia, at first government policies, programs and plans explicitly accorded priority to rural areas to some level of deterrence of urban development. The government gradually increased attention to industrial development and urbanization. This was reflected, for example, in the introduction of a National Urban Development Policy (2005) and the preparation of the National Urban Development Strategy.
The subsequent Growth and Transformation Plan of 2010/11–2014/15 and the Resilient and Green Growth and Governance package have both aligned with the national development vision of strong urban industrial sectors embedded in well-functioning cities, making “the urban agenda centre stage, particularly the role of cities in promoting industrialization, capital accumulation and stronger integration to global markets.
Ethiopia’s current urban strategy identifies seven geographically dispersed cities as future growth centres for balanced growth. It aims for these cities to draw on the diverse economic potential of their regions and sustain the country’s rapid economic growth aims for these cities to draw on the diverse economic potential of their regions and sustain the country’s rapid economic growth. The Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), which is the medium-term planning tool of the Government of Ethiopia (GoE), recognizes the importance of urbanization. The government has already taken steps to make evidence-based, informed decisions for well-managed urban growth. The government prepares two types of spatial plans for urban areas: a structural plan and local development plans (LDPs). Decentralization has increased the role of local governments and Urban Local Governments (ULGs).
The recently published GTP II establishes a goal of reaching middle income status by 2025 and envisions industrial development for growth and job creation, through effective urban development. It calls for the transformation of productive sectors, integrated infrastructure development, capacity building of the construction sector, proactive management of rapid urbanization, and the promotion of good governance.