Deadly plane crash puts dent in Ethiopia's grand designs

The crown jewel in Ethiopia's transformation to continental power in recent years is Ethiopian Airlines, the state-owned company that calls itself "the new spirit of Africa."

Sunday's crash that killed 157 people also puts a dent in Ethiopia's grand designs, spurred on by a dazzlingly reformist new leader. He vows to turn a state controlled-system into free and fair elections next year.

Even as the crash crater smoked, Africa mourned not only the dead but a symbol of the continent's rise.

"This couldn't have come at a worse time," Nigeria's president said. "Like every other African leader, I am proud of the fact that Ethiopian Airlines represents one of Africa's success stories."

The airline is a high-flying symbol of a country shaking off a decades-old image of devastating poverty.