The Dilema of Urban Governance in Africa Between Western and Eastern Development Models: A Case Study From Addis Ababa


Nikolaus Knebel and Mrudula Kolhatkar

Publication date: 

Thursday, 1 January 2009


  • Research paper


External to ACUI

Project theme: 


Africa is experiencing rapid urbanization in extreme poverty. The overwhelming problems of its large and growing cities are a particular challenge for urban governance. In this situation the West no longer offers the only role model for development to African countries as some East Asian states have risen from third world to first within the last generation. Today, urban governance in African megacities is in a dilemma of having to decide between a participatory model of input-legitimacy promulgated by Western donors and a paternalistic, authoritarian model of output-legitimacy followed by Eastern agencies. These two models exert conflicting pressures, e.g. in Addis Ababa. This paper studies three selected urban governance programs: The revision of the Masterplan, the City Charter, the Grand Housing Program. It examines how urban governance in Addis Ababa balances this dilemma for better or worse – a situation that is characteristic for African metropolis in this international era.