Ethiopia is the China of Africa. Like China, it traces its history back thousands of years and considers itself a regional giant. Like China 30 years ago, it has a serious development plan based on raising health and educational standards, improving farm yields and industrialisation with the help of foreign capital. Unfortunately, also like China, it has an authoritarian government that represses its people to stay in power. There is a crucial contrast with China. Ethiopia maintains a firm grip over strategic sectors and planned its march towards putative prosperity with military ruthlessness. That has stifled entrepreneurialism and jeopardised a strong economic record that saw growth average about 8% since 2000 — at least according to official numbers. Political risks form the gravest threat to the country’s current governance system. Although it insists otherwise, the ruling coalition is dominated by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, which is seen to favour ethnic Tigrayans,...

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