Ethiopia: Key Nation
In 2019, the IMF has declared it to be the fastest-growing economy in Africa. Under the leadership of the new prime minister, the relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea seems to be on the mend. Council on Foreign Relations calls Ethiopia “East Africa’s Emerging Giant“.
Ethiopia (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia), is an ancient-future nation! It is one of the world’s oldest civilizations and yet is also a young country, literally. Nearly 50% of its 100+ million people are under the age of 18!
Rich in history and traditions, Ethiopia is mentioned in the Old Testament. The story of an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, is a famous one in the book of Acts. It is said that Ethiopia’s Biblical connection goes back to the days of King Solomon.
In modern history, the country was a wealthy kingdom under King Haile Selassie I until the late 20th century.
Today, the nation is building itself to become a regional economic power.
The government is emphasizing education. In fact, the country is already experiencing brain-drain and trying to woo its people back home. Highly educated Ethiopians are moving to the U.S., EU, and the Middle East for higher-paying professional positions.
China is investing heavily in Africa today because it recognizes the enormous future potential of the continent. Its presence is felt in Ethiopia as well. There are an estimated 40,000 Chinese people working in Ethiopia today. Recently, a state-of-the-art light rail system, a joint venture with China, was completed in Addis Ababa.
It is said that Ethiopia is rich in natural resources, many of which are still untapped, including petroleum. The Rift Valley which runs through several countries in East Africa including Ethiopia is a very fertile region. Ethiopia is, of course, famous for its coffee, but it’s an exporting country of many other crops, including cut flowers and teff, cereal grain gaining popularity as a health food item.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River is said to be the Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant once it is completed.
Uniquely Positioned in Africa
Ethiopia is politically as well economically strategic. Shown in the population density map, it’s one of the most populous nations in Africa. It is the second-largest country on the continent (Nigeria is the largest in terms of population).
Imagine Ethiopia becoming one of the largest well-educated countries in the world!
Ethiopia also has a unique distinction. It’s the only country in Africa that was never colonized by the West. Ethiopians are proud of it and have an independent spirit!
Its capital, Addis Ababa, is the diplomatic capital of Africa and home to the African Union. There are more embassies there than in any city in the world besides Washington D.C., New York, and Geneva.
The Ethiopians are closer to the Middle East historically, linguistically, and culturally than their neighboring African nations. Thus, the country’s influence can reach well beyond East Africa into the Middle East.
Ethiopia is not without its share of challenges. There are more than 80 ethnic groups with 200+ languages in the country. There are ethnic and political tensions and unrest. Even though the government is democratic, and the economy is improving, Ethiopia still scores low on many of the statistical indices.
Spiritually, Ethiopia is faced with the influence of communism as the economic presence of China grows. About one-third of the population identifies themselves with Islam although extreme Islamism does not appear to be a serious threat to society.
The Ethiopian body of Christ has the greatest opportunities to be the light and the salt, the changing agent for its country. As with any nation, the body of Christ alone has the access to the throne of grace through Jesus. Many Ethiopian believers are fervent in prayer and intercession. They are believing in the mighty move of the Holy Spirit to sweep throughout the country. Only Jesus can unify various ethnic groups and bring healing and peace to the land.
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