By Marthe Nzokou (AWiB) |l
Remittances from the Ethiopian Diaspora in 2015 reached $3.7 billion according to the Ethiopian Ministry for Foreign Affairs. (Source: EBC) Approximately 6% of the country’s GDP! Therefore, it is apparent that Ethiopians in the Diaspora can immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the Nation.The question remains, is the participation of the Diasporas vital to the Ethiopian Economic Development and Nation Building or simply good to have them just because? 

Diasporas play an increasingly significant part in the development of nation-building in poor countries and in ones which have undergone major transformation, such as Eastern European and former Soviet states, China and India. This is due to a number of factors, including access to economic resources, greater ease in communication and travel, and the large number of expatriate professionals and entrepreneurs who have skills and experience to offer.

Ethiopians in the Diaspora can be extremely vital to this country provided that they are committed to use their knowledge, skill and expertise in helping their country of origin. For that to happen, it is imperative that a collaborative effort is made between the government and Ethiopians in the Diaspora in order to create a conducive and enabling environment for their participation in this country. Although Ethiopian Diasporas have done some contribution vis-à-vis the developmental endeavor of their country of origin, the fact is that their participation and contribution in that regard is by and large minimal as compared to their number and potential.

The foremost means of diasporic nation-building comes through individual remittances, followed by hometown associations and charitable initiatives that directly affect economic development, poverty reduction, and capacity building. Governments of migrant-sending and receiving countries, international agencies, and academics are now paying considerable attention to the relationship between diasporas and development. Another, related field gaining notice concerns the potential diasporas have for reducing brain drain in developing countries.

Diasporas can also actively be involved in nation-wrecking when there is violence and war in the homeland. Diasporic groups have played major roles in fomenting and supporting conflict in places as diverse as Ethiopia, Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh, Kashmir, Israel, and Palestine. Diasporas may take part in efforts to resolve conflict and to sustain post-conflict reconstruction. But with the money they send home, they can increase the risk of renewed conflict in the years immediately following an upheaval, according to a World Bank Report. (Source: Vertovec, S. (2005). The Political Importance of Diasporas)

Talking Points:

  1. Is there Any diaspora policy in Ethiopia?
  2. What is the support or incentive for the Diasporas to comeback home?
  3. Is it solely the government’s role to incentivize the diasporas? Why?
  4. What is the significance of Ethiopian Diaspora in building the nation?
  5. Could there be participation without representation? Is there a plan from the government to include the Diasporas in the political reformation and policy making stage?
  6. What is the possibility of dual citizenship for Ethiopian Diasporas?
  7. What is the role of the so called Diaspora Association in Addis and how effective have they been in advocating on behalf of the Diasporas?
  8. What are major challenges that Ethiopians face when they comeback home to build the nation?
  9. What are the attitude of the locals towards those long gone citizens coming back home to tell us how to do it?

To discuss and contemplate on these points, AWiB has invited three formidable Diasporas who have come back home, made peace and participating in building the nation.

We invite you to participate, to enlighten and be enlightened by joining us:

Date: October 6, 2016
Venue: Hilton Hotel
Time: 5:30 network; 6:30 program
Speakers:
Gigi Sebsibe, Founder, Interior Motifs & Design (IMD) PLC
Zemedeneh Negatu, Managing Partner & Head of Transaction Advisory, ?Ernst & Young
Mesfin Ayenew, Fonder and Senior Partner, Mesal & Associates Engineering Consultancy/ Board of Ethiopian Diaspora Association
Investment: 350 Birr dinner and program
RSVP is required at reservation@awib.org.et or by texting your full name at 0947-350259

Source: AWiB
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