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The roads of decentralisation. The history of rural road construction in Ethiopia


Emmenegger, Rony (2012). The roads of decentralisation. The history of rural road construction in Ethiopia. NCCR North-South Dialogue, (39):53 S.

Abstract

Roads, in particular rural roads, play a major role in deve- lopment. In Ethiopia, where the vast majority of the popula- tion depends on agricultural production, this is even more so, and the country’s road network has become a major po- licy issue with significant consequences for the population. An extensive network of 114,397 km of different roads has been constructed, maintained, and classified to date. Alt- hough community roads account for nearly two-thirds of the country’s total road network, virtually no work deals specifically with issues related to their construction.
In an attempt to address this lack of information, this paper traces the history of the classified road network and of the governmental sector that has been in charge of its construc- tion, in order to shed light on current policies and practices. While regimes and policies have changed, roads have remai- ned important throughout the history of modern Ethiopia, and the road network has continuously grown, outliving its creators. Based on qualitative research methods, the paper provides useful insights about the role of rural roads in the country’s development policy, their relation to the process of decentralisation, and their construction at the local level. As such, the findings of this study contribute to a better understanding of state-led development in a decentralised setting, and shed light on the ways development policies collide with local realities.

Abstract

Roads, in particular rural roads, play a major role in deve- lopment. In Ethiopia, where the vast majority of the popula- tion depends on agricultural production, this is even more so, and the country’s road network has become a major po- licy issue with significant consequences for the population. An extensive network of 114,397 km of different roads has been constructed, maintained, and classified to date. Alt- hough community roads account for nearly two-thirds of the country’s total road network, virtually no work deals specifically with issues related to their construction.
In an attempt to address this lack of information, this paper traces the history of the classified road network and of the governmental sector that has been in charge of its construc- tion, in order to shed light on current policies and practices. While regimes and policies have changed, roads have remai- ned important throughout the history of modern Ethiopia, and the road network has continuously grown, outliving its creators. Based on qualitative research methods, the paper provides useful insights about the role of rural roads in the country’s development policy, their relation to the process of decentralisation, and their construction at the local level. As such, the findings of this study contribute to a better understanding of state-led development in a decentralised setting, and shed light on the ways development policies collide with local realities.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:18 Dec 2012 16:49
Last Modified:17 Feb 2018 06:35
Publisher:NCCR North-South. National Centre of Competence in Research
OA Status:Green
Official URL:http://www.north-south.unibe.ch/content.php/publication/id/2670

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