13 April 2018

Ethiopia: Due Attention for Exhaustive Diaspora Participation in Renaissance


There is no doubt that the Ethiopian Diasporas are proud of the internationally approved double digit economic growth. They have also been taking part in the nation's fight against poverty in one way or the other.

The five percent share few of them have in the GDP and their participation in the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam(GERD) are invaluable contributions.

However, many of them are not partakers in the socioeconomic growth exhaustively due to some shortcomings in the bureaucracy. That is why new Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed vowed to work on good governance and called on them to fully engage themselves in the renaissance of the nation.

Therefore, there are some tasks in the to do list based on the economic scholars' advises to be considered in attracting the full potentials of the Diasporas.

The government needs to adopt best practices such as private-public partnership from countries like Korea, China, India, Pakistan, Bahama, Israel, Mexico and Philippine.

It must identify and define in clear terms the objectives to achieve in engaging the Diaspora. And use them in guiding principles and help build commitment towards engagement through a continuous process. The setting of goals for engaging the diaspora must involve their members and make them part of the overall development frameworks.

The other is restructuring the Diaspora related offices. For example it is important to consider the upgrading of Diaspora Affairs Directorate in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to a ministerial level with line bureaus in states.

Likewise, the framework of the sector needs to be revisited to include details that the various actors and the specific roles each is expected to play to enhance the dialogue and the engagement.Government must continue reorganizing the various missions abroad and reorient consular officers to consult Ethiopians abroad as part of their responsibility.

After this, the government has to know who is and who constitutes the Diaspora. This involves collecting data of the Diaspora taking into account the skills, experience and expertise.

Locating them helps to provide the avenue and understand their needs, interests and diverse agendas. It also enables to know the resources that the Diasporas can provide and what will be state's responsibility in the engagement process.

The next has to be putting up trust amidst the Diasporas themselves and the state though not necessarily the government. This trust must be built through obedience to principles of sovereignty, respect for the constitution, effective legal frames and systems that ensure safety, and honoring of promises made by people of the nation.

The relationship should also lead to the establishment of joint decision-making bodies that will be representative and inclusive to reflect the diversity. Disagreements must be seen as part of the consensus building process but not obstacle to the development of the country.

And the trust should be followed by persuading towards the development of the homeland. Government must endeavor to streamline and effectively coordinate various initiatives of the diaspora and link them to the main development plans of the country.

Similarly, there is also a need for civil society participation and independent private agencies to complement the effort of government. This helps to reduce the confusions often created by some elements that spread unfounded fabrications of information.

As well, coordinators of various Diaspora Associations must take part in planning visits of high profile government officials to mobilize them. This prevents selectivity and gives national character to the gathering and will ensure social cohesion of the members regardless of political views and ethnic background.

Equally, all the socio economic developments' plans must include themto strengthen the confidence of Ethiopians abroad and motivate them invest back home. Including the best experiences of other countries in engaging the Diaspora in the plans also needs attention.

In the same way, the experiences achieved in The Diaspora Bond on the GERD construction must be scaled up. It should be continued attractively and inexpensively as a means of raising external finance for development projects. Dedicating a financial instrument will build trust and succeed due to their priceless commitments.

Moreover, the Diaspora Tourism should be prioritized and scaled up throughout the country to enhance their trust and strategic participation.

If all these improvements are added to the existing good platforms, the Diasporas would fully become active participants in the nation's renaissance.


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