Recycling army in Ethiopian capital fear livelihoods at risk as city modernizes

Recycling army in Ethiopian capital fear livelihoods at risk as city modernizes Recycling army in Ethiopian capital fear livelihoods at risk as city modernizes

Every morning as Addis Ababa wakes up, thousands of men roam the city streets collecting all kinds of recyclable waste, from plastic and clothing to fridges and electrics.

By sundown these men, known as Quralews after their morning refrain calling out for scrap metal, make their way to Minalesh Terra, a highly-organised section of Merkato, the largest open-air marketplace in the Ethiopian capital.

Here craftsmen transform these discarded materials into an array of new goods - from stoves and furniture to household appliances and religious items - for re-sale in city stores, eventually reaching households in Ethiopia's nine regions.

This is the "beating heart" of Addis Ababa, "a place where almost anything you could imagine can be produced, bought and sold", said researcher Bisrat Kifle from the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development.

A 2013 study estimated nearly 5,000 Quralews, mostly young men, roamed the city as part of the informal industry that supports as many as 300,000 people - from the Quralews to craftsmen, middle men and shop keepers.

But as Ethiopia's capital expands and prime land becomes more valuable - a trend echoed across Africa which has some of the world's fastest growing cities - long-time residents of Minalesh Terra fear there might not be room for them in the district's future.

"The government has seen how valuable this land is. It might now try to take it from us," said Wosene Kassa, representative of one group of recyclers and craftsmen in Minalesh Terra.

Tagged as:

Latest news, Addis Ababa, Ethiopian News, Minalesh Terra
What's next

Yet Nebersh

2017-08-21 13:41:00

Werke Zebo

2017-08-21 13:38:00

Aldewelem

2017-08-21 13:30:00

Zikre

2017-08-21 13:26:00

Meleket part 80

2017-08-21 13:23:00

Senselet Drama S01 E10

2017-08-21 13:12:00

Dana Season 5 Episode 5

2017-08-21 12:56:00