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Ethiopia: Addis Ababa, the New York of Africa?



  10:43:45 am, by admin   , 965 words  
Categories: Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Addis Ababa, the New York of Africa?

Ethiopia: Addis Ababa, the New York of Africa?


Previously published in Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)


Addis Ababa — ADDIS Ababa loosely translated means a 'new flower'. The capital city of Ethiopia is indeed blooming and very fast, Addis is also known as the home to the African Union, formerly the Organization of African Union (OAU).

According to Wikipedia, Addis Ababa is the largest city in Ethiopia with a population of over 2.5 million people quoting the 2007 census. As a chartered city it has the status of both a city and a state, is often called the capital of Africa because of its historical diplomatic and political significance to the continent.

Founded in 1887, this sprawling, hospitable city is situated at the foothills of the Entoto Mountains. Being my third visit to Addis Ababa I was determined to try and see as much as I could, despite the tight schedule I had. There is much to do and lots to see if one is visiting for pleasure and or business plus lots of souvenirs from the signature white Ethiopian dresses with intricate trimmings to fashionable outfits mostly from Italy.

The city has a flourishing cultural life, and Ethiopians are proud of their music. Not forgetting Injera, a large, soft, pancake like, which forms the basis of most Ethiopian meals, served with a communal tray with accompanying array of spicy sauces. What amazed me most as I was being driven to the hotel from the airport is the construction boom going on. There is lots of construction from skyscrapers to condors and roads.

I couldn't help being fascinated at the speed at which the city is growing in modernity compared to other African cities. I mean, really I am used to seeing a building or two going up here and there in Dar es Salaam but this is different, construction is everywhere around the Ethiopian capital.

No wonder some people speculate that in several years to come, Addis will be the New York of Africa, with eye catching architectural buildings. The structural transformation of the city, the skyscrapers going up; each with unique architectural designs left me awe struck and it's not just real estate that's booming, but there is also the construction of a light rail around the city being carried out by a Chinese railway company, the likes of those found in European countries.

It is no wonder that Addis Ababa has made it to the top ten as one of the best cities to visit in 2013, published by the Lonely Planet, a global travel guidebook. The Ethiopian capital is number nine on the list with Puerto Iguazu of Argentina coming number 10, while San Francisco, California and Amsterdam in the Netherlands came first and second respectively.

Although Addis Ababa is growing at a fast rate economically, like in many other cities in African countries, Dar es Salaam included, it still faces a number of problems including that of sewage. Dirty and smelly water can be seen flowing freely in open ditches. This is of course with exception of some areas such as the Bole area.

Public facilities and open fields are on the verge of extinction, just like in Dar es Salaam. I did not see any open space and this was confirmed when I looked it up in the Internet. It is a good thing then that the government is repossessing open spaces that have been grabbed by greedy investors.

Mixing business with pleasure my colleagues and I decided to have dinner outside the hotel I was staying just so I could have a glimpse of Addis Ababa by night. After asking around for a place where we could have beer and some food, we were directed to the Beer Garden.

Apparently the Beer Garden is very popular amongst foreigners and the beer is served in five litre towers at the German bar. The beer which is brewed by the establishment is served in either really tall glasses or the five litre towers with a tap at the bottom.

There is the deep reddish coloured brew which has a higher alcohol content compared to the coloured brew. Another interesting aspect of Addis Ababa was the posters of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenewi who passed away in August this year, are still lined up on billboards along the streets and avenues, buildings, shops and in different postures, with messages proclaiming their love for him and how they will carry his mantle ahead to achieve his vision.

Its seems that despite having little tolerance for oppositions with claims of having a poor human rights record, his people still adore him and do not seem to be able to let go. Much as Ethiopians show respect for their leader, I realised one morning on our way to the conference centre that Ethiopians are rather religious.

I was amazed at how they profess their faith by touching holy buildings or grounds and praying reverently with their heads covered. Ethiopians would not pass a holy place, without touching, kissing or kneeling down and saying a little prayer silently.

Addis Ababa, like in many African cities, has its share of beggars, with children running along side you begging for money in their mother tongues pointing at their mouths, meaning they want money to buy food or something like that...and if you give one of them money, he or she goes and calls others, who swarm around you almost tripping you as they all beg for money.

Waiting in traffic women with babies clamped on their sides tap on the windows of vehicles, smiling beautifully at you while begging for money. The babies too smile up at you with big beautiful innocent eyes, if you have a small heart, you might end up emptying your purse.


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Comment from: Extraterrestrial [Member]

Mekatele newe engdihe ye ethiopia telatoche lol

yaze engdihe yadu genete lij ena ethiopian yemiwede hulu eskese eskese eskese.

Embureeeeee hahahahaha!

11/18/12 @ 10:57
Comment from: C'est moi senait [Visitor]
C'est moi senait


Did you read the last sentence. Beggars women caring their children’s. Were n’t you one of those beggars children out side Ras hotel begging for a change. I still remember your mother Heny and you father ZERHUN,full of Fleas ,who used to beg on the window of our car.

That is the weyanne economy success BEGGERIZEM

11/18/12 @ 11:37
Comment from: sf [Visitor]

To all,
It is always good to dream. This dream is not my dream or the dream of an ordinary people. This dream is the propaganda dream of Woyanne.
If not, go and see Cairo,Pretoria, Capetown and so many towns in Africa.
My dream is at least to eat 2 times per day.

11/18/12 @ 12:00
Comment from: Mo [Visitor]

Comparing Addis Ababa to New York is a bit too much. It would sound more realistic to say Addis Ababa is the next “Beijing,” of Africa. How can a city that doesn’t even have a proper sewage system can be compared to New York - the most populous city in the United States and the world’s center for finance, culture and media? For starters, Ethiopia is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world, along with China and Eritrea. That comparison ends there. Let’s get real, please.

11/18/12 @ 12:05
Comment from: Belete [Visitor]

MO and Co., you are missing the big picture here. think this way, if it wasnt for the politics, meaning assuming we have elected government and democracy, this kind of eye witness assessment filled with hope and bright future would have meletd our heart with joy. but you know you cant get every thing and a glass half full is better than an empty one. yes the city is improving a lot and no question several years from now it would be one of the best cities in africa. there is no reason to be sad and cranky about this, unless you are one of those poor individuals, like elias kifle, dr brhanu etc… who are banned from the country..lmao…

11/18/12 @ 12:52
Comment from: Mojo [Visitor]

If you want real talk; Addis Ababa no where near to Nairobi, Harare, Abuja and I am not going to mention Johannesburg, Cape town, or north Africa. you want another bitter truth? little Asmara much cleaner. Addis is growing city but disorganized urban planing, poor sewage system, donkeys cars cows everywhere.

11/18/12 @ 13:38
Comment from: [Member]

C’est moi senait
I don’t know what kind of person u r called your self the above user name, but you are very obssessed to see ethiopia growing. when you use some of the unkind words, those words show me what or who you are. i think it is better to listen to your self. where ever you go in the world, there is beggars. before we came to USA, most ethiopians used to believe there is now beggars in USA at all. but the realty is there is tens of thousands in single area. so, please change your course. your ideas are neither constructive nor helpfull. i hope you are not the DERG cadre, which was the worest of all in ethiopian history.

11/18/12 @ 13:38
Comment from: Concerned [Visitor]

If you are not good to yourself or happy with yourself, you cannot say well about anybody or anything. Addis Abeba came long way, and so is Ethiopia. Please, contribute some thing tangible, important things that can better our country. If you cannot contribute something, be positive. Alternatively, it is even better to be quite. Addis Abeba I know yesterday is different from what it is today, in many ways. If today is not good day for you, hope for better tomorrow and be part of the contributors.

11/18/12 @ 13:49
Comment from: Hanna [Visitor]

In case you don’t know NYC, there are beggars in New York too! Do not pick negative aspect and project it as if the whole view is on that. Silly!

11/18/12 @ 14:29
Comment from: TEDDY [Visitor]

What a joke ,Another disullioned payed lobbyists vomiting his usual lies .Does this guy ever seen Johansburg ,even not far from this Nairobi ,Kampala ,Luanda ,Maputo why not St Louis and many many other African cities florishing with modern buildings and more modern equipments .It’s not because Chinese built the AU center and goat Herders Agazi fake officers own
new buildings around Bole Road that things have changed .On the contrary
BEGGARS and Street Children multiplying ,compared to others periods, by 100 times ,and most of the citizen unable to eat even once
a day .Worst lots of shortage of electric and clean water services .Of course Moron stupid bandas as Extrapente who are swalling daily woyane propagandas whorship such childish propagandas…LOL !!!!

11/18/12 @ 14:31
Comment from: Gragn Ahmed [Visitor]
Gragn Ahmed

I was amazed at how they profess their faith by touching holy buildings or grounds and praying reverently with their heads covered. Ethiopians would not pass a holy place, without touching, kissing or kneeling down and saying a little prayer silently.

Asafari new.

11/18/12 @ 14:37
Comment from: my2cents [Visitor]

Yes, Addis Ababa is the spritual sister city of New York. Most creative people come out from New York City; likewise, “so and so come out of her” is said of Jerusalem a.k.a AA. Soulfulness and modernity are just two of the qualities shared by the two great cities.

How the Gurages beat the Arabs and chased out the unscrupulous and unfair negades from Ethiopia post Italy’s occupation: read Fitawrari Zewde Reta’s new book (2nd part) very interesting story. Similarly, the Somalians have managed to chase the Indians out of Kenya in the last decades and Woeyanes are repeating the Arab’s loser history.

11/18/12 @ 14:43
Comment from: Cobra [Visitor]

Dear Mojo,
At list we the Ethiopian built Addis, not like the others which was built in by the colonial era. The white ppl built nairobi or Harare. Plz don t come here to open ur f£&@ing mouth.
Kula ras u and that women senait

11/18/12 @ 15:14
Comment from: lol [Visitor]
1 stars

ayiii itopya!

11/18/12 @ 15:29
Comment from: Kifle [Visitor]
3 stars

Hey guys we need to appreciate the trend of our country’s development. It doesn’t matter who takes the credit for it. We need to say a spade a spade. That is what I understood from the above article, despite some unhappy reactions from a few guys most probably in the neighborhood.

11/18/12 @ 15:59

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