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Ethiopia is positing itself as a regional manufacturing and export hub, achieved through its . The country has seen double-digit economic growth as recently as 2017, although approximately one-third of its inhabitants live below the poverty line. Eritrea, meanwhile, is known as one of the most secretive — and least developed — countries in the world. Now that flights have resumed, Ethiopian and Eritrean passport holders will be able to travel between the two countries and “be granted a visa by the respective authorities on arrival,” Fitsum Arega, Abiy’s chief of staff, tweeted last week. “The perception that Ethiopia offers more substantial economic opportunities could lead to substantial migration (by Eritreans),” Pat Thaker, editorial director for the Middle East and North Africa at analysis firm Economist Intelligence Unit, told CNBC. But Ethiopia, the second most populous nation in Africa, is not exactly an economic paradise, with an unemployment rate of over 17 percent, according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) estimate for 2012. Over 60 percent of Ethiopians are under 24. “Comparisons with Asia’s manufacturing-led boom are, at least as yet, premature,” said a note by Capital Economics in May. Ethiopia’s manufacturing sector accounted for just 4 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015, comparable to Ghana and less than that of Kenya or Nigeria, the note said.
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