Even if the level of urbanization in Ethiopia is low by African standard, the rates of urbanization in Ethiopia are exceptional. Until 1985 the growth rate was more or less the same as the whole Africa. But in the last two decades, despite the rural bias policy, the growth rate was very fast in Ethiopia (4,3%), while the rate largely decline in other African countries, 3,3%. Rapid urbanization caused by internal migration is a source of high costs of food, housing, transport, health and other basic services in towns.
Not only that there is a speedy urbanization in Ethiopia, its regional distribution is unbalanced: urbanization in Ethiopia is uneven and there is unbalanced growth of towns. The level of urbanization varies regionally, ranging from nearly 100 per cent in Addis Ababa to 8,7 per cent in SNNPR. By default the regional pattern of urbanization in Ethiopia is already unbalanced. The urban structure has uneven character in size and amorphous in functions and it is therefore important to have an industrial policy which brings about balanced regional growth in the country. I advocated industrial decentralization (relocation of manufacturing industries to medium and small towns) to bring about balanced growth and absorb the rural surplus labor in its own proximate location (to curb long distance migration). Rural-town based small-scale manufacturing industries are generally not only more labour intensive but also more productive per unit of scarce capital than their large-scale counterparts in capital cities.
2010. , 47 p.