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The History of Expropriation in Ethiopian Law

DW Ambaye


Expropriation is a compulsory taking of land by the state for public purpose
and upon advance payment of fair compensation. After describing its nature and basic contents, this article attempts to construct the history of expropriation in Ethiopia based on primary and secondary sources. It covers the historical and legislative period of pre-2005 Ethiopia. It is argued in this article that because of lack of urbanism in pre-twentieth century Ethiopia and because of the strong religious ethic of the kings not to abuse their power, there was no much expropriation practice of urban land in Ethiopia before the establishment of Addis Ababa in the late nineteenth century. Expropriation received formal recognition after the 1908 Addis Ababa Land Charter. In all the historical records that are found, there is evidence of payment of compensation upon expropriation of urban land although it might not be conclusive.

Key words: Land, Expropriation, Compensation, History, Ethiopia.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2309-902X
print ISSN: 1998-9881