A sector with vast, untapped potential, Ethiopia’s tourism industry is set to experience a huge metamorphosis as it builds its infrastructure, brand, and product offer in the coming years through both public and private efforts. Solomon Tadesse, CEO of the Ethiopian Tourism Organization, reveals the exceptionally positive outlook tourism has here, and its implications for the country, its people, and its investors alike.
What are your insights on the current momentum of Africa as a growing investment destination?
Africa is the last continent that anybody was interested to look into. Unfortunately, the Western world used to look at Africa as a country, not as a continent, and never recognized the diversity that exists here. Africa is so diverse in terms of culture, language, religion, many things. It is also so rich in landscape and resources. The diversity of our landscape, the diversity of our resources has never been tapped or has never been looked at as a potential investment opportunity for most Western countries.
I was out of Ethiopia for 42 years and lived in America; I know how the media functions over there. I think it blinded many potential businesses or even individuals from the Western countries as the media was telling just one story of Africa for a long period of time.
Today, Africa is rising with all its potential in terms of education, health and at the same time with its own resources. Africa is definitely in the right direction to capture its own potential in energy, meaning its development energy. With that I would say it’s wide open for business, but we still don’t see as many Western countries coming and investing in Africa.
Definitely, China is playing a very interesting role. China, as well as other Asian countries saw the potential and they jumped in. I think there is still more potential in Africa that investors can come and explore. There are so many areas that have not been tapped in terms of technology, in terms of development. The world is getting smaller and smaller and I think Africa is going to play a key role in further development of the global economy.
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