The Ethiopians returning home to start businesses – BBC News

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Hundreds of Ethiopians who have been living abroad are returning to the country, following reforms brought in by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. 

Mr Abiy’s ambitious reforms include changing the law to enable more Ethiopians living abroad to come back and help rebuild the economy.

For years, Ethiopia’s economy has been tightly controlled by the state and closed to many international investors. 

About two million Ethiopians live in the diaspora, the government estimates. 

About half of those displaced Ethiopians have found new homes in the US, particularly in Washington DC, which boasts a huge, thriving Ethiopian community.

Abiy Bister owns an Ethiopian restaurant in Washington DC. He hasn’t seen his homeland in almost two decades, but now he is considering returning to Ethiopia to start a business there.

“Everybody is positive. I remember days where people were not talking to each other…but now you see a lot of positive change, in that people are appreciating the positive vibe that is coming to the country,” he tells the BBC.

Changing mindsets

Aside from seeking to establish common ground between the 80 different ethnic groups in Ethiopia, the government has focused on economic reforms to help liberalise the economy and make the country an attractive business destination in Africa.

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