- New railway line, industrial park revive the city
The Dire Dawa City Administration is going to draft a new master plan for the old commercial town in eastern part of Ethiopia.
Deputy mayor Abdella Ahmed Mumed told The Reporter that Dire Dawa city is growing as a result of the newly built Ethio-Djibouti Railway line and the massive industrial zone which is under construction. Abdella said Dire Dawa has been elected as one of the especial economic zones in the country. “Because of its proximity to the port, the railway line and the international airport it has been chosen as one of the especial economic zones,” he said.
A dry port is being developed and the 310 km Ethio-Djibouti concrete asphalt road is being built. The population of the city which is estimated at 500,000 is expected to grow to more than one million in few years’ time. “More people will be coming to find jobs as the industrial park becomes operational,” Abdella said. “New settlers need housing and other basic public services. To meet the growing demand the city administration has to expand the city and develop basic infrastructure and public services,” he added.
Abdella told The Reporter that the city administration is to revise the city master plan adding that it has established a project office that develops the new master plan.
Dire Dawa was founded in the early 1990s as the result of the construction of the Ethio-Djibouti railway line. The first master plan was developed during the imperial regime and it was revised in the early 1990s. The third master plan was introduced in 2006.
Dire Dawa has an industrial zone that lies on 165 hectares of land in the outskirt of the city. The new industrial park which is being developed on 4200 hectares of land will soon be inaugurated. The industrial parks are expected to create 60,000 jobs in ten years’ time.
Head of the City Plan Development Office, Biniyam Gebretensay told The Reporter that the Dire Dawa City now has a total area of 94.5 sq.km of land and this will expand to 214 sq. km of land. Biniyam said as the result of the development of various industrial parks in the city the population of the city will double in few years’ time. “This will be a burden to the city administration. There will be shortage of housing, water supply and other basic infrastructure and services. Therefore the city administration has to plan and prepare to expand the infrastructure and public services,” he told The Reporter.
The city administration has established a project office and allocated eight million birr for the preparation of the draft master plan. The total cost of the project is estimated at 30 million birr and it will take two years to complete the new master plan. The project office commenced work last September.
According to Biniyam, the new master plan will identify commercial areas, and residential areas for government low cost housing projects and real estate developers. Vast areas will be allotted for the development of industrial parks and new roads. The master plan will also pinpoints where schools and hospitals will be built. New water supply line, and sewerage system will be designed.
“It is not only the structure of the city that we are going to design but we are going to study the socio economic activity of the city and formulate a strategy that guides the development,” Biniyam said.
Currently, the Dire Dawa City Administration is undertaking a water supply project at a cost of 600 million birr funded by the World Bank.