How Al Amoudi’s arrest could affect Ethiopia’s economy


As news spread of the detention of Saudi princes and business moguls in Riyadh earlier this month, alarm bells were ringing in another capital more than 1,000km away: one of Ethiopia's most important investors was under arrest. It remains unclear why Saudi authorities arrested Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi, an Ethiopian-born dual citizen who is reportedly the second richest Saudi, behind Prince al-Waleed bin Talal. Yet while Talal – and his investments in everything from Citigroup to Twitter to the Savoy – may have gained the most media attention worldwide, Amoudi's arrest is significant for its potential to disrupt the economy of an entire country. Amoudi – or "the Sheikh", as he is known - has invested in nearly every sector of the country's economy, including hotels, farming and mining - so much so that American diplomats once questioned how "nearly every" privitisation in Ethiopia since 1994 had involved Amoudi's companies. "The Sheikh's influence in the Ethiopian economy cannot be underestimated," according to a diplomatic cable from 2008 released by Wikileaks. Nearly 10 years later, it's hard to put a dollar figure on Amoudi's total investments in Ethiopia, one of the world's poorest countries, yet one of the fastest growing in Africa. [...] CONTINUE READING

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