Ethiopia embraces the power of positive thinking

Ethiopia embraces the power of positive thinking
It’s all in your head

But reframing poverty as a state of mind may not solve it

“Iused to have pimples and everything. And I have big ears in case you haven’t noticed,” laughs (economist)–Ebba Tesfaye, now fresh-faced and snappily dressed, in the lobby of a swanky hotel. Rattling through his life story—bullying, drugs, redemption—he pauses only to glad-hand a passing celebrity before rushing to the set of his new tv show.

Ebba T, as he is known, is among the most prominent of a rising generation of motivational speakers and life coaches in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. Their rags-to-riches parables offer hope to legions of frustrated Ethiopians. A few, like Ebba, have found fame on the airwaves. Some are YouTube gurus. A handful write books, while others start consultancies. All preach a message of individual uplift in a country burdened by poverty and ethnic divisions.