SARChI looks into governance of cities in federal states

To discuss and debate constitutional and legal challenges stifling cities, especially those in federal and quasi-federal states such as Ethiopia and South Africa, Research Chair in Multilevel Government, Law and Policy at the Community Law Centre and Centre for Federal Studies at Addis Ababa University organised a seminar in June.

This one day seminar, which was to look into terms of managing diversity and bringing about political, social and economic inclusion for their residents, took place in Addis Ababa titled ‘Governing the cities’.

The seminar was topical since it came at a when the debate regarding the Addis Ababa-Oromia integrated master plan, which captured headlines recently, was still on-going. It attended by nearly 50 invited guests, focused on constitutional and legal issues relating the governance of cities in federal states. It was divided in three themes and seven papers were presented in the Seminar.

The first theme focused on the issue of choosing capital cities in federal states. Under this theme Prof Nico Steytler presented a paper on ‘Capital cities in federal systems while Prof Assefa Fiseha (CFS, AAU) presented a paper on ‘Contemporary Issues on Federal Capital Addis Ababa’. The second theme dealt with political, social and economic role of cities. Prof Steytler again presented a paper on ‘the political, social and economic role of cities in South Africa’ Dr Zemelak Ayele spoke on ‘the evolution in status and role of cities in Ethiopia’s multi-phased decentralisation processes. Two papers were presented under the third theme, which dealt with the issue of management of ethnic diversity in cities.

Zerihun Yimer (Civil Service University, Ethiopia) presented a paper on management of ethnic diversity in cities in the Oromia Regional State while Milkessa Midega (CFS, AAU) spoke on management of ethnic diversity in Dire Dawa City Administration. In attendance in the Seminar was Mr Abuye Aniley, an advisor to the Federal Democratic Republic Ethiopia Minister of Urban Development, Housing and Construction, who also spoke on the Ethiopian national policy on urban development.

Professor Nico Steytler, assisted by Dr Zemelak Ayele, also taught at the Centre for Federal Studies of Addis Ababa University. The teaching was conducted as part of the institutional link between the Community Law Centre, University of the Western Cape, and CFS, AAU. The teaching, which took place over nine days, covered several topics, on comparative basis, including federalism, fragile federal systems in Africa, decentralisation and local government.

© 2016 Dullah Omar Institute
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