Ethiopia was doing so well, but now it’s falling apart at the ...

World

Ethiopia was doing so well, but now it’s falling apart at the seams

It was the world’s fastest growing economy, but conflicts and natural disasters are scaring away investors

Ruma Paul, Anna Ringstrom and Joe Bavier

When Bangladeshi textile firm DBL set up shop in Ethiopia two years ago, the African nation was the garment industry’s bright new frontier, boasting abundant cheap labour and a government keen to woo companies with tax breaks and cheap loans.

Last month, as fighting raged in the northern Tigray region, DBL’s compound was rocked by an explosion that blasted out the factory’s windows, radically altering its business calculus.

“All we could do was to pray out loud,” said Adbul Waseq, an official at the company, which makes clothes mainly for Swedish fashion giant H&M and is one of at least three foreign garment makers to have suspended operations in Tigray...

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