38 MIZAN LAW REVIEW, Vol. 9, No.1 September 2015
performers in global quality of life measures.” This envisages “strategies for
inclusive growth, job creation, increasing agricultural production; investments in
science, technology, research and innova tion; gender equality, youth
empowerment and the provision of basic services including health, nutrition,
education, shelter, water and sanitation.”1 Ethiopia shares these aspirations.
Ethiopia aspires to join the category of middle income countries as of the
year 2025. This envisages business environment which is conducive to value
adding economic pursuits, sav ing, investment, enhanced job c reation and
sustainable development. These pursuits not only aim at ‘growth’, but also its
sustainability which, in the avenue of sustainable economic benefits, envisages
significant job creation with decent levels of real income, fixed capital
formation (which varies from foot-loose ‘investments’) and steadily improving
social well-being through inclusive growth and poverty alleviation.
Ethiopia’s developmental aspirations and pursuits for the years and decade s
ahead envisage agents of such transformation. As good practices throughout the
world have proven, innovation, creativity, motivation, c ompetence, sustained
efforts and integrity are among the cornerstones of structural transformation
which can be nurtured and honed at the grassroots thereby rendering the private
sector a major change agent. It is under such a setting that economically
empowered citizens can pursue rational (i.e., informed and morally responsible)
self-interest within a framework of public interest and the common good. This
requires the alleviation of various constraints including inadequate access to
urban land and the restrictions in its transferability. The private sector can
hardly play its role in value creation, competitiveness, and economic
development in the absence of such grassroots empowerment.
There are various challenges in access to urban land in Ethiopia which
adversely affect the business environment. They, inter alia, include (a) land
market imperfections due to the mono-route features of urban land provision
mainly by municipalities, (b) challenges in lease tender and allotment processes,
(c) the breadth and security of lease rights, (d) the transferability of lease rights,
(e) the right to use land rights as collaterals for bank financing, and (f) gaps in
land information to the public including information about relatively predictable
lease price ranges. Other issues of concern relate to institutional fragmentation
in land management, incoherent practi ces of municipal branches of city
administrations such as Addis Ababa and the challenges of the legal regime’s
susceptibility to opportunity grabs by speculators and corrupt office holders.
1 African Union, Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, 2nd Ed, Popular Version, page 3.
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