When Tadiwos Belete moved to Ethiopia from the United States a decade ago to open a luxury spa, his relatives thought he was crazy.
He built an office block on a crumbling congested thoroughfare in the centre of Addis Ababa, where there were few other businesses and seemingly few opportunities for a successful entrepreneur.
Now from his fourth floor office overlooking the newly-refurbished, six-lane Bole Road, today crammed with cafes, hotels and shopping centres — a sign of Ethiopia’s thriving economy — Tadiwos recalls almost despairing of finding other businesses to rent space in his office block.
“I remember, we were almost praying whether we could get someone to rent this building,” Tadiwos said.
“It’s amazing, I never believed it would grow this much, but it’s happened,” he added, looking down at the busy street below.
Tadiwos is part of a burgeoning diaspora community returning to Ethiopia to invest in its booming economy.
Tadiwos’ business has blossomed, along with his Boston Day Spa, he has opened a restaurant and a wine bar in Addis Ababa, along with two luxury resorts outside the capital.
He employs 1,500 people, and goes out of his way to use Ethiopian materials and products throughout his business empire. Read more