The Sunday Mail
Harare has entered into a twinning arrangement with Addis Ababa, a move that will see Harare exchanging notes with the Ethiopian capital on improving its housing and transport system.
Ethiopian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Dr Koang T. Dung recently confirmed the development in a statement.
“Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Dr Koang T. Dung confirmed the development when he addressed a special council meeting at Town House” reads the statement which was released on City Council website last week. “Mayor, Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni said he will soon lead a team to Addis Ababa to conclude the twinning arrangement.
“He (Dr Dung) said Addis Ababa built 100 000 housing units in the past five years with another 92 000 nearing completion. “The city plans to build 60 000 more units this year.”
Town Planner Mr Percy Toriro hailed the town twinning arrangement saying it is the new way of learning and developing.
“I think it is a very good idea considering the fact that Addis Ababa is going through swift developmental changes,” he said.
“As an African brother there is a lot we can learn from the city (Addis Ababa).”
Mr Toriro said town twinning is not only made to benefit but also to learn through mistakes done by other cities.
“It (town twinning) is a very good thing in the sense that it enables transferring of technology, but it is also a platform to learn mistakes made by other cities.” Harare city already has active bilateral relations with global cities, such as Nottingham (UK), Cincinnati (Ohio, United States), and Munich (German).
Several other twinning arrangements which include relationships with Sacramento (USA), Cairo (Egypt), Columbus (USA) and Lilongwe (Malawi) are lying inactive and in need of resuscitation. Over 1,2 million people are estimated to be on the Government’s national housing waiting list while the country’s urban areas are reeling in chaotic urban transport system and twining with other cities is expected to improve the situation.
This will also come as good news for the town fathers; this considering Government is already in the process of phasing out urban commuter omnibuses in line with comprehensive plans to decongest major cities as well as creating a modern and affordable transport system.
The twinning deal with Addis Ababa is therefore expected to complement the Government’s efforts, as the capital can model its transport system on Addis Ababa’s mass transit system.
Despite being amongst the ten largest cities in Sub Sahara, Addis Ababa has one of the most fluent transport systems with 550 Anbessa bus service with 100 seat capacity, 9 200 privately owned mini bus taxis with 11 seat capacity and 462 midibus (Higer) with 27 seat capacity.