Expropriation, Valuation and Compensation in Ethiopia

Abstract: This study examines how the expropriation, valuation and compensation process are carried out in Ethiopia when privately held land and attached real properties are taken for public and private investment purposes. The study  examines three case studies, inquiring whether the process of expropriation and valuation are transparent and  justified or not and the compensation paid is fair and reasonable from an international perspective. A valid with  theoretical background, the study examines practical problems that faced expropriatees and searches for possible theoretical explanations. The study also assesses whether there is a gap between the laws and the practice undertake on the ground.The study reveals that expropriation as a concept and a land policy tool has economic and political justification and acceptance in Ethiopia. Similar to other developing countries, Ethiopia has faced enormous economic and social problems. The question of housing and other real estate construction for high population pressure, the development and investment questions, poor public utility facilities and other public interests are some of the problems that need the intervention of both the Federal and Regional governments. In order to facilitate these needs of the society, the Federal government, the City Administrations and/or Regional governments have been using “expropriation” as a meaningful and useful management tool. However,  the field survey result  reveals that different compensation standards among government institutions, inadequate compensation standards for loss of land use rights, lack of professional and certified property valuers, lack of reliable and up to date data and nontransparent expropriation and valuation procedures are some of the main problems that impend the proper and equitable implementation of expropriation, valuation and compensation in the country in general and the study areas in particular.Another emerging issue is how the land laws especially the expropriation and payment of compensation laws are applied. It is evident that the application of and adherence to legal provisions with consistency, transparency and objectivity; by the acquiring authorities in ensuring that fairness is done, seems to be quite crucial. On the other hand, non-adherence to such laws brings numerous implementation problems in such programs. Whereas the affected expropriatees need “fair treatment and compensation” the government wants to pay a “manageable compensation” so, this thesis argues for a reasonable compensation to be established by striking a balance between these two view points.This study ends up by proposing that both the Federal and Regional governments should revise the land laws especially the expropriation and payment of compensation laws in such a way that it would define and protect property rights for the vulnerable groups both in urban and rural areas and where and when these rights are acquired “reasonable compensation” must be paid.   

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