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Population growth and settlement expansion in the fringes of Addis Ababa and its impact on farming households: the case of Kebele 15 of Bole Sub-city

College of Social Sciences, Addis Ababa University
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  • Agricultural Science
  • Political Science


This study focuses on estimating the rate of urban settlement expansion in the fringes of Addis Ababa, and on examining the causes for this and the impacts it has on the livelihoods of the farming households living there. For this purpose, aerial photographs covering the study area, GIS tools and GPS were used; questionnaires were also distributed to sample urban households, and interviews were conducted with a sample of farming households in Kebele 15 of Bole sub-city. The main findings of the study indicate that the rate of urban settlement expansion in the fringes of Addis Ababa has been very fast. While the city has not been expanding uniformly both in space and time, the fastest rate of expansion has been observed in recent years, everywhere except in the northern part of the city. In particular, the rate for the study Kebele in eastern Addis Ababa has been high. Population growth, which is the direct cause of such expansion in the fringes of the city, is the result of in-migration. In the fringes of the city, for instance, population growth has been more than four times that of the city as a whole. In addition to population growth, the prevailing urban development practice of the city government has contributed significantly for the rapid horizontal expansion of the city. This has resulted in, among other things, the loss of the arable land, and most importantly, the loss of the agricultural livelihood of the farmers in the city fringe. The measures being taken by the government to compensate for the loss of peasants' agricultural livelihoods, including the efforts to re-establish them, are very far from being adequate. As a result, the affected farming households have been marginalized and impoverished. Ethiopian Journal of the Social Sciences and Humanities Vol. 3 (2) 2005: pp. 1-26

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