Feisal Omar / Reuters

The Horn of Africa's Qat-22

How the Stimulant Both Drains and Drives the Economy

In the Horn of Africa, qat, a leafy green plant that is popularly taken as a stimulant, grows all over the hills of Ethiopia. But the finest qat, it is claimed, is found around the prominent eastern cities of Dire Dawa and Harar. In the Babel-like Chattara market in Dire Dawa, qat sellers work late into the night, their stalls lit by a single bulb. Nearby, Aweday, nicknamed Qat City, serves as the hub of Ethiopia’s qat trade, where the substance is shipped to neighboring countries and even overseas. In its town center, bundles of qat are loaded onto trucks …

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