Addis Abeba. The New Flower of Africa

How a populous capital is becoming increasingly relevant on the international stage

The “New Flower” was only marginally affected by the attempted coup d’état in Ethiopia on 15 June. The entire country, however, risked chaos. The “New Flower” refers to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s populous capital city located at an altitude of 2400 metres. The country is of key importance on the international stage due to its burgeoning economy (fuelled in large part by China) and its vast population (102 million, the second largest in Africa). Having thwarted the attempted coup, Addis returned to its daily rhythms – those of a huge and bustling city characterised by a vibrant social life and intense construction work.

Addis is an enormous African “work in progress”: it is the city of diplomacy, of the African Union, the premises of which are in a Chinese-built skyscraper, of huge hotels and fashionable bars. These venues are frequented by the Ethiopian middle class, who are often apolitical and like to dress well and drive their big cars as fast as possible past the city’s sprawling poverty-stricken neighbourhoods, which by night are invisible due to the lack of street lighting. In the city’s slums, dwellings are made from corrugated metal and there is no sewage system or running water.

( 2019 )