Seven years after most of the rest of the World, it is celebrating the arrival of the year 2000 according to its ancient Coptic calendar. The government ordered 10 days of celebrations to mark the end of “the dark ages” after so much poverty, hunger and conflict.
“This is the Ethiopian renaissance,” said Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
Ethiopia has never been colonised, although there was a six year Italian occupation. The Prime Minister noted his countrymen have paid the price of their independence. In blood.
“The last few centuries have not been glorious,” he said.
Private donors and businessmen paid for the party. But as thousands profited from that generosity, others criticised the clearing of beggars from the streets and the demolishing of slum housing in the run up to the Millenium.