Ethiopia is Africa's second most populous nation and one of its largest economies. In 2018, Ethiopia's tourism sector was the fastest growing in the world. Now it is completing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the seventh largest in the world, and soon to be the biggest hydroelectric power plant in Africa.
But in November 2020, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered airstrikes against targets in his own country, in the region of Tigray. Tigrayans led Ethiopia for nearly three decades before Ahmed was appointed in 2018. In 2019, Ahmed was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize after brokering a long-awaited peace with neighboring Eritrea. Just months later, he was waging what some say amounts to civil war. Tens of thousands of refugees have fled the fighting across the border to Sudan—half of them children, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The United States is home to more than 250,000 Ethiopian immigrants and their children—more than from any other African country except Nigeria. More Ethiopians live in California than any other state, with at least 7,000 in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Reporting for the Los Angeles Times, Jacob Kushner will explore Ethiopia's delicate politics, its booming economy, and its rise to geopolitical prominence.