Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia is
currently in a state of economic boom, due to the modernizing of Ethiopia and
although 1/3 of the population still lives in poverty (less than $0.60 a day)
increasing wages to the people have been creating a urban middle class. But
it’s members cannot compete with more economic stable countries, as earnings
and careers are still very uneven.
The bureaucracy, unreliable supply of
ingredients and the constant rising and decrease in prices make it hard for
many businesses to start, or continue successful. Sales of beer are also
another unusual indication of Ethiopian gentrification. In Angola, which is
vastly urbanized, average per capita stands at 50 litres of beer a year. In
Ethiopia, it is only four. Sales of beer are progressing at the same pace as
the road network and electrification, and manufactures can barely keep up with
For the time being there is more evidence of
extreme poverty in Addis Ababa than more upwardly mobile prosperity. The
churches in the predominantly Orthodox Christian country are surrounded by
beggars, street children and their mothers, and malnourished children hoping
for spare some spare change.
Ethiopia’s lower middle class live in one of
the countless shacks with poor iron roofs which are spreading all over the
city. Inside these “shacks” usually tend to be home to two or three generations
of a family. Usually one person owns a car to get to work, and is usually paid
by multiple friends and family, one of the prime concerns is school, because
state school is considered to be “…for the poor”.
Set aside misgivings, Ethiopia has achieved
almost 100% school enrolment, largely thanks to the former prime minister
Meles Zenawi, who “broke” the
dictatorship in 1991 and ruled the country until his death in August 2012.
Come back in five years’ time and Ethiopia
will have lost it’s rural nature with donkeys, cows, and goats wandering among
the pedestrians and traffic. It will be a modern city, with broad tarmacked
avenues and ultramodern blocks and shopping malls.