There’s a renaissance on the African continent that the U.S. can’t afford to dismiss

Ethiopia is the latest nation where an international aviation accident is in sharp focus, but the country itself is treated merely as the hazy backdrop and tragic context for a larger geopolitical story. This one involves Boeing, China trade wars and the credibility of American regulatory institutions.

All important stories, for sure, but Ethiopia is more than the tragically fatal scene of a plane crash. With more than 100 million people, Ethiopia is the second most populous African nation after Nigeria. Landlocked Ethiopia is also the continent’s fastest growing economy with arguably its most dynamic young leader.

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While other African countries, such as Algeria, struggle to put to pasture their near-comatose leader-for-life Abdulaziz Buteflika, Ethiopia broke the old clichéd mold of African strongman leaders who were generals or geriatrics and instead, almost a year ago, appointed a fresh and energetic reformer, the 42-year old prime minister, Abiy Ahmed. READ MORE

Donald Trump is decimating America’s tourist economy

SAN FRANCISCO 

Brown soot-filled skies darken this San Francisco day as homes and fields burn a few miles north in Napa and beyond. It is the worst regional fire here in generations.

Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and now Northern California — tourist destinations all — are reeling from a death toll and economic hit brought by hurricanes, floods, and fires. Rebuilding everywhere will be expensive, and federal money will only go so far. America’s nearly $500 billion annual tourist industry would be expected to help fuel the revenue growth that will fund local economic resurgence.

But not this year.

An area resident evacuates his Silverado Trail home as flames from a wildfire approach Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Rich Pedroncelli AP

An area resident evacuates his Silverado Trail home as flames from a wildfire approach Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Rich Pedroncelli AP

On the heels of the Donald Trump election, Las Vegas mass shooting, Muslim travel bans, an alt-right resurgence, and a palpable negative shift in how America is perceived globally, nations are issuing U.S. travel warnings and fanning fears of an America that no longer welcomes foreigners or succors its own citizens.

Take Mexicans, for example. President Trump actively denigrates them, so they increasingly have decided to stay home this year. That means the U.S. will lose over a billion tourist dollars from Mexico. Estimates for 2018 are even worse. Travel professionals see the dramatic drop in U.S. tourism as an international reaction to America’s new politics. They call it the “Trump Slump.”

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