In Ethiopia, where a recent study suggested that 80 percent of the urban population lives in shantytowns without basic sanitation, squatter communities are unrelentingly awful, this Agence France Presse dispatch opines. But what's the solution? An Addis Ababa government official notes that around one-quarter of all units are owned by local authorities and rented out at rates that have been frozen since July 1975, vastly reducing the potential for income that can be pumped back into housing improvements. "The government also believes in privatization of public houses," said the official. "Through such projects, we can alleviate slums and informal settlements," he added.
But let's parse this.
--Three-quarters of the units are not owned by local authorities and are not rented out at subsidized rates. Yet those units, too, have apparently not improved.
So what's the benefit of privatization?