Ethiopia is a remarkable country. Many people have no idea what has been happening in this emerging powerhouse of Africa. The population of Ethiopia is 94.1m people, making it one of the largest countries by population, in Africa.
Whilst we can all say nice things about our countries (and that is good), what investors like to see are the “numbers”. The numbers from Ethiopia are some of the most impressive in the world:
For instance over the last decade Ethiopia has had an average growth rate of 10.7% per annum. This is neck and neck with China, and three times that of South Africa.
Ethiopia has managed this impressive growth without any anchoring mineral resources like Oil and Gas, gold, diamonds, or other precious metals. What minerals it has are still unexploited on a major scale.
More foreign investors ask me about how they can invest in Ethiopia, than any country in Africa. And being an investor myself, I know that they have been looking at some quite extraordinary “Economic numbers”, coming out of that country.
So what drives Ethiopia, economically?
Agriculture and a resourceful people, who have been overcoming some major hardships to build their country. It is by no means perfect, and there is much more that can be done across a whole range of issues, but the economic numbers are encouraging.
One of the most successful #AfricanLioness, that I have decided to highlight is Dr Eleni Gabre-Madhin. She has been one of the key drivers of the Ethiopian agricultural transformations.
Dr Eleni Gabre-Madhin (PHD), was working as an economist at the World Bank in the U.S, when she noticed the need to establish what is known as a Commodities Exchange, to help Ethiopian farmers to sell their coffee, and other agricultural produce on the global markets. She immediately returned back home to make it happen:
It was an audacious scheme that now generates billions of dollars per annum for the country’s farmers. It has completely transformed the lives of tens of thousands of farmers, across Ethiopia.
As the first Chief Executive of this initiative, she and her team built an organization that has received global respect.
I first met Dr Eleni Gabre-Madhin, when the two of us were part of a 5 member business delegation that was invited by President Obama to Camp David in 2012, to meet with the G-8 Leaders. As you might expect she was extremely knowledgeable, articulate and bold. I was so proud listening to this #AfricanLioness “roar”!
Dr Eleni Gabre-Madhin has now left the Commodity Exchange of Ethiopia and she is now running her own business.
What really excites me is that everyday I hear about, and also sometimes meet many young African women just like Dr Eleni Gabre-Madhin, doing extraordinary things across this Continent. Some of them are just starting out but you can hear the “roar of the lioness” in their determination to succeed.
I shall continue to highlight a few more of the #AfricanLionessRoar. You can also send me your recommendations from other countries. Don’t just recommend yourself or someone in your country, try recommending someone from another country that you have read or heard about.
By Strive Masiyiwa