Profile of Mr Ezana Haddis Weldeghebrael University of Manchester

Ezana Haddis  Weldeghebrael

I was born on April 2, 1984 in Addis Ababa. I have a B.A Degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology from Addis Ababa University, M.A Degree in Regional and Local Development Studies with distinction in the same institute, and Masters of Science in Urban Management and Development from Erasmus University Rotterdam. I have a PhD in Planning and Environmental Management from the University of Manchester. I had served as a lecturer at he Ethiopian Civil Service University for two and a half years. I have also served as academic project coordination at Addis Ababa University.

General research interests

urban redevelopment, housing and metropolitan governance

PhD/Postdoctoral Research Title

Inner-city Redevelopment in an Aspiring Developmental State: The Case of Addis Ababa Ethiopia

PhD Abstract

The overarching research question the thesis seeks to address is: what form the state-society relation takes during inner-city redevelopment by an aspiring developmental state of Ethiopia? Several authors have recognised the tentative emergence of a ‘developmental state’ in Ethiopia in light of the rapid socioeconomic developmental achievements the state registered in the last 15 years. However, these studies were state-centric accounts, limited in capturing the state-society relation and urban manifestation during building a developmental state. To address this knowledge gap, the thesis used primary qualitative data and undertook a documentary analysis of legal, policy and other official documents as well as other secondary materials. This study found that the aspiring developmental state of Ethiopia has not only framed inner-city redevelopment to facilitate capital accumulation by private developers but also for legitimisation. The legitimisation framing involves using the inner-city as a material manifestation of the developmental narrative of the state, as a material concession in the form of housing and for enhancing state control of the inner-city areas. Even the accumulation framing in Addis Ababa was framed in a way the state recaptures its costs through dispossessing inner-city residents and transferring at a higher lease price. However, with the contradicting framing of “diplomatic capital of Africa”, the state was revising its land lease law to transfer inner-city lands to high-end developers at less than the market price. Considering the developmental narrative of the state and the repressive nature of the state, inner-city residents adopted strategised to minimise the adverse effect of the redevelopment through presenting their demands through their representatives referring the discourse of the state, appealing to higher level officials and in some cases seeking media attention. Some residents also adopted an individual strategy of subverting the formal rule that bars the sale of replacement land and housing by appropriating other legal procedures, which the thesis labelled as “tolerated quasi-legal transfer”. While, other individuals presenting themselves as supporters of the ruling coalition to be included in the redevelopment, which the thesis called as “seeking formalisation through partisanship”. Overall, inner-city redevelopment in an aspiring developmental state of Ethiopia is highly political and the residents also respond to it strategically without challenging the status quo.