Ethiopia: Citizenship Diplomacy Changes Gear for Diaspora Engagement

ADDIS ABABA - The Ethiopian Diaspora Agency disclosed that implementation of citizen-centered diplomacy has mobilized the majority of Diaspora community to participate in all round development of the country.

Agency Director General, Selamwit Dawit told The Ethiopian Herald that the participation of the majority of the Diaspora in the development of the country has been increasing since the reform that took place three years ago.

Following the reform, all-round contribution of the community living overseas to the country has been growing. They are becoming key participants in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) construction, 'Dine for the Nation' and others.

Following the reform, the major change in the diplomatic sphere has enabled overseas communities to actively engage in national affairs to safeguard the interest of the country, she said.

According to the Director, the revised Ethiopia's foreign policy has borne fruits internally and externally as it stands for citizens' dignity, protection, and the likes. Ethiopian Diaspora Agency is one of the institutions that were established following the reform aiming at serving the Diaspora community. The establishment of the Agency and implementation of citizen centered diplomacy has helped increase the contribution.

She said, "Over the last two years, the majority of the silenced Diaspora group has been mobilized across the world, and the Diaspora outlook has now prettily changed . The majority of them continue to stand by the side of their country. However, this does not mean that there are no communities who want to tarnish Ethiopia's image."

As to her, the individual political views may vary from person to person, but they are very supportive of their homeland. In particular, as we have seen recently, the Diaspora has stood up for the country by protesting against various forms of diplomacy pressures based on false information.

The recent Diaspora movement in various countries has been bringing a tangible change, the stand of many countries has been altered and gave an opportunity for them to see the situation on the spot. Many of the citizens' grievances in the past have been addressed following the reform.

No matter what kind of question citizens do have, they would never compromise when it comes to the national interest of their country.

Obviously, there may always be a concern of citizens, and this concern can only be raised when there is a country.

Diaspora contribution to GERD and other national mega projects has been significantly growing since the middle of 2011 E.C. In 2012 E.C, some 800,000 USD was raised through donations and bond purchases. Contrarily, in the first nine months of 2013, over 3.1 million USD was raised through the aforesaid means. This has shown a 50 percent increment compared to the last full year. The first round dam filling inspired citizens to contribute much though the participation has been stagnant for three consecutive years since 2009 E.C, she stated.

The Diaspora has provided nearly 50 million USD for the construction of the GERD over the last 10 years, it was learnt.

The Ethiopian Herald 2 April 2021

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