FT – Countries are built on courage, and the image of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed facing down army mutineers by doing press-ups rightly ricocheted around the world. His larger peacemaking, in gracefully ending a bitter and mutually damaging conflict with Eritrea, has now been recognised by the Nobel Prize. Domestically, he defused protests which had threatened to escalate into large-scale violence. In the region, he has helped broker a settlement in Sudan. But that is only the half of it: Mr Abiy is now applying his manifest skills to the vital purpose of transforming Ethiopia into a prosperous society.
Mr Abiy’s new government is starting from the legacy of a sound strategy that has, however, reached its limits. Unusually for Africa, Ethiopia has sustained a high investment rate: currently 38 per cent of gross domestic product. This has been predominantly in infrastructure for energy and connectivity, without which the country could not reach middle-income status.
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