There was a point, in Barack Obama’s nearly hour-long speech at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa on Tuesday, when the American president deviated from the script that had been circulated beforehand to journalists.

At first glance you know that the head-office of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia on Addis Ababa’s Churchill Road must have been built in the 1960s.The tatty concrete rotunda has no redeeming features– save, as it turns out, its staff.

Inside the tellers are organised in a giant circle, the commercial signs advertising a plethora of money transfer agencies.




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