Tourism has been identified by the Ethiopian government as one of the key areas of development to help eradicate poverty. Tourism has grown consistently, according to World Bank data: In 2013, the country welcomed 681,000 visitors compared with 468,000 in 2010.

While civil society has been stunted in Ethiopia, economic growth has charged ahead. Between 2003 and 2013, the country averaged a growth rate of 10.8%—more than twice the regional average of 5.3%. The country’s growth has been driven not just by agriculture, but also by industrial production and the services industry—a rare example of economic diversification in Sub-Saharan Africa. The government has brokered deals with international investors led by the Chinese, and has been directing investment into productive sectors.

The IMF has classified Ethiopia as one of the five fastest growing economies in the world. Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, has been described as ‘the Dubai of Africa.’ The construction boom there is a microcosm of the country’s overall transformation.

Later this month Barack Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Ethiopia, when he travels there as part of an Africa trip that will also include Kenya.

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