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Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and the second-oldest official Christian nation in the world after Armenia. Ethiopia is also the place for the first Hijrah in Islamic history where the Christian king of Ethiopia accepted Muslim refugees from Mecca sent by the prophet Mohamed.
Ethiopia is the most populous land locked country in the world. It became landlocked in 1993 when it separated from Eritrea. During our visit in 2010 IMF just announced that Ethiopia was one of the fastest growing economies in the world during 2004 and 2009.
The country produces more coffee than any other nation in Africa and it is the livelihood of nearly 15 million Ethiopians. Coffee is also called Black Gold. Ethiopia’s large water resources and its potential is being looked at as its white oil. The country also has large mineral resources and oil potential in some of the less inhabited regions. Political instability in those regions, however, has been hindering development. During our second visit in 2016 we were told by Dutch cattle farmers that the cattle industry was doubling every year, and Dutch flower growers were pushing to make Ethiopia one of the top flower and plant exporters in the world. Other main export commodities are khat, gold, leather and oilseeds. It was amazing to hear that 95% of cross border trade was via unofficial channels mainly live cattle, camels, sheep and goats to Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti at a value of at least 250 and 300USD million annually! I suppose the loss of Tax revenue is covered by Foreign aid! I was also surprised to see the Chinese exporting rice from Ethiopia to China, while the western world donates rice to Ethiopia? During our last visit we witnessed the protests across Ethiopia and the burning down of Western businesses including large Dutch flower farms. Dozens of protesters were shot and killed. Reasons for the protest were: fairer distribution of wealth, release of political prisoners and human rights abuses.