Land Tenure in the Changing Peri-Urban Areas of Ethiopia: The Case of Bahir Dar City


  • I would like to express grateful thanks to Professor Hans Mattsson, Associate Professor Peter Ekback and Dr Jenny Paulsson for their input and for their patience in reading multiple drafts of this article. I would also like to thank the three IJURR referees for their invaluable comments and suggestions. Any errors remain my own.


Ethiopia's urban expansion and development strategy has been based on the acquisition of land by government from adjacent peri-urban areas. The land in the peri-urban areas is predominantly agricultural in nature, and it has been held by local farmers or landholders. This article aims to examine the nature of urban expansion and development from the perspective of the land rights of the local peri-urban landholders. To achieve this purpose, it has employed a case-study approach. As urban territory extends into adjacent peri-urban areas, the land rights of local landholders are expected to be automatically cancelled and transferred to people who can pay for a lease. This shows that very little attention is paid to the land rights of local landholders in peri-urban areas in the process of urban expansion and development. Therefore, it is not difficult to imagine that local landholders in those areas have a prevailing sense of insecurity about their land.