Ethiopians Hate to Lose!


We are slightly star struck when entering the office of the world famous runner Haile Gebresalassie. We’re not here to talk about his amazing achievements as an athlete, but to talk business – his business that is. The prize-money Haile won as a runner has been invested wisely in Africa’s fastest growing economy.

−The economic growth is good news for me and my businesses, Haile Gebresalassie says and smiles. −More money and less manual work in the general population mean more fat people, and fat people come to my gyms to sweat off the extra kilos.

What the 42-year old celebrity is saying is true, even if it is just a tiny bit of the truth. The money Haile makes in his three gyms are quite insignificant compared to what he makes from real estate, car-import, agriculture, gold mining and running of two private schools.

To be in Ethiopia is to witness an economic miracle. The country has enjoyed close to double-digit growth for a decade. Right now it is creating millionaires faster than anywhere else on the continent. Eight floors below Hailes office the streets of Addis Ababa reverberate with hammering from construction workers as the concrete skeletons of new towers and a light rail project rise into the crane-dotted sky. Ethiopia’s government says it is on course to meet most of the millennium development goals, and by 2025, to be a middle-income country.

In the days of Live Aid the GNP of Ethiopia was $ 7.9 billion, last year in was $ 46.9.

−I see signs of economic growth everywhere I go, Haile says.

−But we have to play our cards right to make the most of the optimism many Ethiopians share right now. A lot of rich people are involved in some sort of trading. Importing things cheap and selling it with a profit is not strengthening our economy, it only makes the traders richer. We need things to export. That’s my reason for investing in gold mining, agriculture and schools. Of these three, the education sector has the best potential. I think human resources will be our biggest asset in the future, the marathon man says.

−Ethiopians hate to lose, you see, he adds rising his arms in the air like he used to do as an athlete, when he crossed the finishing line first.


21 Responses to “Ethiopians Hate to Lose!”

  1. […] Ethiopian Haile Gebresalassie is one of the all time greatest long distance runners. The prize-money Haile won as a runner has been invested wisely in Africa’s fastest growing economy. But not only does he invest with profit in mind, but he want his investments to be a benefit for the country. Read about our meeting with the 42-year old celebrity on Øystein’s and my blog; Untold Stories. […]

  2. How exciting and what a great story, I had no idea what Haile Gebresalassie was up to now. Thanks for sharing this very inspiring post.
    Love, Dina
    I’d be absolutely star struck … 🙂 I’m proud of you all! 🙂

  3. He is so right.
    And doing the right thing with his money,
    he’s giving jobs.
    Have a fine sunday

  4. The GNP going from $ 7.9 billion to $ 46.9 billion is remarkable. And totally unexpected after reading the previous posts. There is quite the stark contrast. I agree that educating the people will be the best investment. Hopefully those people will be able to figure out how to help the others.

  5. Those are amazing statistics of economic growth. I had no idea Ethiopia had experienced such growth. Fascinating!

  6. What a wonderful story. I was especially glad to see schools in his list of endeavors, and his point about importing/exporting is exactly right. I knew there had been some economic growth there, but I had no idea it had been so substantial. This is a terrific counterpoint to your other stories: inspiring, and hopeful.

  7. Thank you
    Fantastic Blog
    Good luck
    My Blog

  8. Excellent entry by concerns of disadvantaged countries, greetings

  9. Lovely to see progress and good news highlighted.

  10. Seems like Haile Gebresalassie is doing a good performance, not only in running but also for his country’s progress. A good and positive story from a country in development.

  11. Nice to read this optimistic report, and to see these images!

  12. The enthusiasm and excitement Haile shows is how people should live life 🙂

  13. Reblogged this on where words fail. corporate cultural diplomacy + related and commented:
    Continuing on the theme of sport and international business here’s a post from an excellent documentary/photography blog that I recently discovered called Untold Stories.

    Meet Haile Gebresalassie. You might remember him as the dual Olympic gold medalist or the four time world champion 10,000 metre runner. Here he talks about business growth and opportunity in his home country of Ethiopia.

  14. Hi – I really love your site. I just reblogged this post on – please let me know if the attributions aren’t to your liking.

  15. Not to be pessimistic; I want to know where Ethiopia’s warlords are in all of this? Are they really all gone from controlling the country?

  16. Nice share, You’re a good writer, and your skill and attention to detail is obvious in all of your writing. It’s very useful for me, thank you and Good Luck

    My Blog

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