Ethiopia, indelibly linked with images of grinding poverty and famine, has quietly built one of Africa’s rare corporate success stories, with the continent’s only consistently profitable airline shuttling passengers from around the world through its hub in Addis Ababa.

Yet just as state-owned Ethiopian Airlines starts to vie with the likes of Dubai-based Emirates, outbreaks of violence around ethnic and human-rights protests have claimed an estimated 500 lives since June, threatening to deter travellers and undermining the political stability that helped it flourish. It is also grappling with the challenges of doing business in the region, with more than $200m in ticket payments tied up in countries including Nigeria and Angola, which the airline says is putting pressure on its liquidity. …more