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Ethiopia's economy is now ranked as the fifth largest in Africa. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it also ranks among the world's five fastest-growing economies following a decade of continuous expansion during which real GDP growth averaged 10.8% per annum. In 2014, the economy expanded for its 11th consecutive year, posting 10.3% growth, and the African Economic Outlook expects this trend to continue in 2015 and 2016. This robust economic growth has played and continues to play an important role in the development of tourism.

Owing to a coordinated prudent fiscal and monetary policy stance, inflation has been contained to single digits since 2013. This prudent environment has enabled Ethiopia to attract a large number of foreign and domestic investments in tourism and other sectors, among them such prominent international chain hotel management groups as Marriott, Radisson Blu and Accor.

Ethiopia spends more two-thirds of its capital budget on the sort of infrastructural development essential to attracting tourism. The national road network, for instance, has increased from below 25,000km in 1995 to more than 100,000km today, and all major arteries out of Addis Ababa are now surfaced or being upgraded. The same period has also witnessed the upgrading and construction of several key airports, along with huge advances in the electric power grid, piped water systems, and media and communication networks.

The number of tourists entering Ethiopia has shown a continuous growth in recent years, for instance from 383,339 in 2008 to 596,341 in 2012. The tourism receipt has grown from US$204.9 million to US$1.2 billion over the same period. According to some forecasts, the number of tourist arrivals will reach about one million by the end of 2015.

The Ethiopian economy is otherwise dominated by agriculture. This is the primary activity of 80% of the labour force, and the sector accounts for 45% of the national GDP and 84% of exports. The main cash and export crop is coffee. For the mining sector, the most

important export mineral is gold, revenue from which increased a hundredfold from US$5 million at the turn of the millennium to more than US$600 million today.