Addis Ababa: the New Emerging City of East Africa

Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, is situated in central Ethiopia at an elevation of about 2440 m (about 8000 ft) above sea level. The city was founded by Emperor Menelik II in 1887 at the site of  hot springs and given the name Addis Ababa, which means “A New Flower.” It is the country’s commercial, manufacturing, and cultural center, and the setting of  the headquarters of the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. It has a diverse population driven from all sides of the country and is where the two biggest religions, Orthodox and Muslime, are mainly practiced. In  this regard, the city is where people are living together and peacefully with their differences. The city is also where the biggest market in Africa the so called Merkato is found.

The city has three different faces. When you look down at the city being from the nearby Mountain the so called Entoto, you will find out these faces standing together: an attractive and modern face, an old face, and a rural face.

Since the recent years, the city has witnessed fast progress. High rise buildings, delicious private and public apartments, new highways, ring roads and the like are replacing some old parts of the city dramatically and giving them a new face. The number of western style and quality accommodations, hotels, bars and restaurants, and supermarkets is increasing time to time. Following this change, the city is becoming more competitive to host different international conferences, seminars and other events.y Mountain the so called Entoto, you will find out these faces standing together: an attractive and modern face, an old face, and a rural face.

The city is where two economically extremely different people are living: extremely poor and extremely rich. There, in fact, are few middle class residents. The rich live in luxurious compounds mostly located in some specific areas named Bole, SMS, Gerge, Sare Bete, Betele and so on, and these areas are commonly known as the living areas of the rich. This people drive expensive and fascinated western cars and enjoy in expensive hotels, bars and restaurants, sometimes even outside the country. Most of their children attend primary and high schools in expensive schools of the city intended just for them and, then, join Western Universities. In contrary, the poor, I can say the huge part of the population, live hand to mouth life in the old parts of the city, in the dirty and unhealthy environment. Moreover, there are ten thousands of people living in very small plastic ‘houses’ and on the streets of the city, looking for the charity of the passersby to eat and survive. In this regard the city can be a good example to illustrate clearly the feature of the unbalanced economical progress of the developing countries’ citizens or in simplest words the unfair wealth distribution.


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