Ethiopia blames foreigners for "weakening" economy

Men carry chickens home after buying them at Sholla Market, the day before the Ethiopian New Year, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. Once home to one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, Ethiopia is struggling as the war in its Tigray region has reignited and Ethiopians are experiencing the highest inflation in a decade, foreign exchange restrictions and mounting debt amid reports of massive government spending on the war effort. (AP Photo)(Uncredited / Associated Press)

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - The Security and intelligence teams in Ethiopia have linked foreign nationals to the weakening of the economy, noting that a number of them have been entering the country using tourism visas only to engage in illegalities such as printing "counterfeit dollars" within rented hotel rooms.

The Joint Security and Intelligence task force did not mention the exact origin of these nationals but confirmed some of the suspects have been “detained and being investigated.” It also accused suspected of “using drugs.” The country was recently ranked as one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa.

On Saturday, the team noted, operations were conducted within Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia which led to the arrest of five individuals for printing fake dollars besides being in possession of "illicit weapons". The names of the five individuals have not been availed for scrutiny.

The task force further said that it has also “seized a large number of US dollars and currencies of various countries”, in the hands of the suspects in violation of a directive by the National Bank of Ethiopia limiting the amount of money individuals are allowed to keep, which is not more than 100,000 for private individuals, and 200,000 birr for companies, in their homes and companies, Addis Ababa reports.

Already, the team said, over 601,760 birr which was ready to buy US dollars have been seized. The unnamed suspects who are under investigation were apprehended with three separate cheques worth 4.9 million birrs ready to be used for the illegal purchase of US dollars, three Kalashnikovs, and four pistols with similar ammunition.

Ethiopia is fresh from a civil war in the Tigray region, but mechanisms for sustainable peace have been put. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has maintained that his administration will focus on national reconciliation and economic recovery following 24 months of turmoil.

The country is competing regionally and the recent unveiling of the Grand Renaissance Dam has boosted the local economy, with Addis Ababa now exporting electricity to neighboring countries such as Kenya. Ethiopia's national carrier: Ethiopian Airlines is also considered as Africa's fasted growing company in the aviation industry.


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