Ethiopia: Addis Ababa, the New York of Africa?


ADDIS Ababa loosely translated means a ‘new flower’. The capital city of Ethiopia is indeed blooming and very fast, Addis is also known as the home to the African Union, formerly the Organization of African Union (OAU).

According to Wikipedia, Addis Ababa is the largest city in Ethiopia with a population of over 2.5 million people quoting the 2007 census. As a chartered city it has the status of both a city and a state, is often called the capital of Africa because of its historical diplomatic and political significance to the continent.

Founded in 1887, this sprawling, hospitable city is situated at the foothills of the Entoto Mountains. Being my third visit to Addis Ababa I was determined to try and see as much as I could, despite the tight schedule I had. There is much to do and lots to see if one is visiting for pleasure and or business plus lots of souvenirs from the signature white Ethiopian dresses with intricate trimmings to fashionable outfits mostly from Italy.

The city has a flourishing cultural life, and Ethiopians are proud of their music. Not forgetting Injera, a large, soft, pancake like, which forms the basis of most Ethiopian meals, served with a communal tray with accompanying array of spicy sauces. What amazed me most as I was being driven to the hotel from the airport is the construction boom going on. There is lots of construction from skyscrapers to condors and roads.

I couldn’t help being fascinated at the speed at which the city is growing in modernity compared to other African cities. I mean, really I am used to seeing a building or two going up here and there in Dar es Salaam but this is different, construction is everywhere around the Ethiopian capital.

No wonder some people speculate that in several years to come, Addis will be the New York of Africa, with eye catching architectural buildings. The structural transformation of the city, the skyscrapers going up; each with unique architectural designs left me awe struck and it’s not just real estate that’s booming, but there is also the construction of a light rail around the city being carried out by a Chinese railway company, the likes of those found in European countries.

It is no wonder that Addis Ababa has made it to the top ten as one of the best cities to visit in 2013, published by the Lonely Planet, a global travel guidebook. The Ethiopian capital is number nine on the list with Puerto Iguazu of Argentina coming number 10, while San Francisco, California and Amsterdam in the Netherlands came first and second respectively.

Source: Tanzania Daily News