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The Addis Ababa City Government, Lyon Town Planning Agency and the French Development Agency (AFD) signed a new cooperation agreement to share best practices and capacity building in the field of urban development.

They agreed to share knowledge and experience through workshops, technical exchanges and training in Addis Ababa or in Lyon in the fields of sustainable urban development. They plan on developing tools and methods to analyze and implement policies and initiatives to structure Addis Ababa’s urban development and identify best practices for urban development projects.

The announcement came during a workshop held by AFD and the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI) focusing on city planning and implementation.

The workshop looked at economic growth opportunities in large and small towns in Ethiopia, and addressed challenges from lack of appropriate planning associated with infrastructure development, environmental pollution, service provision, and shortage of housing.

According to Abuye Aneley who was representing the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, speaking on the trends and challenges of urbanization in Ethiopia, job creation for youth in Ethiopia needs to be addressed.

“We have to focus more on job creation; we need to have a work force that will be proactive in the economy. The country’s population is youthful and sectors to absorb the workforce that are available need to grow,” Abuye said. He also underlined that most of the economic activity in the country is within the informal sector and that needs to change by encouraging the growth of sectors like manufacturing because it has the capacity to provide a large number of jobs.

“In terms of infrastructure and service, major investment is required. Addressing the challenges with water, electricity and roads as well as solid waste management is necessary,” Abuye said.

Since 1999, the Addis Ababa City Government and the municipality of Lyon, France, have cooperated on various urban projects. The first was financially supported by the Embassy of France to update the master plan of Addis Ababa. Since 2012, the financing of this partnership has been done with the support of the French Development Agency.

The Lyon Town Planning Agency and the technical department of Grand Lyon have supported the Addis Ababa City Government in the fields of urban planning, public transport, housing policy, market areas, regional planning and solid waste management through various agreements signed in 2010, 2012 and 2016.

AFD is a French development institution which has been providing a support to Ethiopia for its development over the last 20 years with a reported commitment of 525 million Euros for more than fifty projects including the Ashegoda wind farm and the terminal cargo built by Ethiopia Airlines.