Growth of 9 percent would normally suggest a bountiful economy. But for many young Ethiopians, their ambitions lie abroad, even if it means risking their lives on the perilous sea-crossing to Europe. Ivor Bennett reports
Home isn't where the heart is for these men. Part-time taxi drivers in Ethiopia hoping for a ride out, at any cost. (SOUNDBITE) (Amharic) PART-TIME TAXI DRIVER, ASHENAFI KUMALA, SAYING: "I just want to leave this country, whether it is by boat on the sea or any other means and try my luck. I want to improve my living condition even if I have to do that by risking my life." For many the target is Europe. Even if it means making the perilous trip across the Mediterranean. Now the watery graveyard of thousands before them. (SOUNDBITE) (Amharic) PART-TIME TAXI DRIVER, HABTAMU KEBELA SAYING: "The boat journey might be risky but I believe it is better to leave this country by any means possible because there is nothing in this country." In theory, Ethiopia is a land of plenty right now. It's economy is expanding at about 9 percent a year. In reality though, millions have been left out. Says migration consultant Mehari Tadele. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INTERNATIONAL CONSULTANT AND EXPERT ON MIGRATION, MEHARI TADELE, SAYING: "What they want and they are ambitious about is completely different from what the country can provide. So this is a mismatch between the aspirations of the many youth in terms of what kind of life they want to live, and the actual opportunities the country can provide to this youth." When they do work, these men make about 5 dollars a day But there are no guarantees. So as well as Europe, some aim for Yemen. in the hope of reaching the riches further north. The poorest walk for weeks to reach the coast, with little food, water or shelter. That or the Mediterranean - an impossible choice but for many here, they feel it's their only option.