Urban Institutional, Infrastructure Dve’t Program to Benefit 7m Ethiopians

Addis Ababa September Over 7 million Ethiopians living in 117 cities will be beneficial from the Urban Institutional and Infrastructure Program, which will run for five years starting from March, 2018.

During launching the program today, World Bank Program Leader, Anne Bakilana said Ethiopia is urbanizing rapidly and has one of the fastest growing urban populations in the world.

Stating that urbanization is associated with economic growth, she pointed out as in other countries, urbanization in Ethiopia has been associated with high level of economic growth, averaging 10.4 percent between 2003 and 2013.

She added that cities contribute 38 percent of GDP with only 15 percent of total work force.

Jobs, enhanced implementing capacity of capital investment, improvement in urban infrastructure and services are among achievements attained from the Urban Local Government Development Programs (ULGDP) of 1 and 2, Bakilana stated.

The government's current policies of industrial development and promoting rural-urban linkages present good opportunities for promoting more balanced regional growth through the creation of a linked system of cities, she emphasized.

Urban Development and Housing Minister, Jantirar Abay said strong political commitment both at federal and regional levels is crucial to attain the desired goals of the program and benefit the society at large.

Mentioning that the earlier programs which were implemented in 44 cities with the support of World Bank were successful, he said and added taking the successful lessons and filling some of the gaps, everyone with sense of ownership should strive to realize it.

According to him, budget allocation will be in accordance with the evaluations of cities by independent organizations that are related to transparence and accountability of capital investment.

Finance and Economic Cooperation Minister, Abraham Tekeste said on his part that the ministry is working towards enhancing the necessary capacity of stakeholders in ensuring transparent and accountable finance system.

The Program will enhance the institutional performance of participating urban local governments to develop and sustain urban infrastructure, services, and local economic development, he added.

Speaking of the programs inclusivity, Dr. Abraham said it will enhance citizen participation and engagement in Urban Local Government planning and budgeting.

Improved infrastructure, service delivery, efficiency and effectiveness in fiduciary management, environmental and social management and safeguards as well as strengthened accountability and oversight systems are some of the key expected result areas, it was learned.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency