Ethiopia Losing Foreign-Investment Appeal as Attacks Spread
Ethiopia’s attraction as a favorite new destination for foreign investors is fast dissipating as businesses owned by Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote and Dutch fruit processors come under attack in growing political unrest.
The government declared a six-month state of emergency Sunday to deal with the violence accompanying protests by ethnic Oromo and Amhara communities that began 11 months ago over dispossession of their land, political marginalization and state repression. The security forces have killed more than 700 people during the demonstrations, according to the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia. The government says the attacks are being orchestrated by “foreign elements.”
Last year, investors had been touting Ethiopia as a hot new investment destination, lauding the way the government has ramped up infrastructure spending and embraced foreign capital to propel economic growth at the fastest pace on the continent. That appeal is losing its luster as the protests present the biggest challenge to Ethiopia’s ruling coalition since it gained power by force a quarter of a century ago.