Principles, opportunities for the Diaspora to participate in Ethiopia


The ongoing reform led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (Ph.D) has enlightened not only the lives of Ethiopians at home but also the lives of those living abroad.

His government led researches that would enhance diaspora participation in any legal aspects to help Ethiopia move forward in the path to prosperity, peace, justice and democratic system enhancement.

As a result, the Federal Government of Ethiopia formed Diaspora Community Agency. It has formulated a concept towards diaspora. “How we understand and demonstrate the Diaspora community will also affect the Diaspora in their country’s development and the government’s efforts to enforce the rights and interests of the Diaspora,” as stated on the agency website.

Normally, the agency operates under five principles regarding the concept of the diaspora community. The first principle is that the Ethiopian Diaspora includes all Ethiopians and generations of Ethiopians who have left their country due to political, economic or social issues and are living in different parts of the world.

The second principle is that the Diaspora community just as it has rights and benefits of citizens, also has citizenship responsibilities. In particular, the agency will follow practices and principles that help the Diaspora take interest in national affairs and also create ties so as to enable them fulfill their part as a citizen.

The third belief is that the Diaspora community has an idea that the Diaspora community should be accommodated in a manner of national unity but different from the social structure of the community and the political and economic conditions of the people.

The fourth code is that the Diaspora community agency will not trail on a shifting image of its position and status but rather a viable good representation that is based on citizenship and Ethiopian nationality.

The fifth principle is that the agency works to promote excellent interaction following the notion that even though the Diaspora community is living in foreign countries. Accomplishing the diaspora’s rights to access the benefits, and its national contribution is directly connected with the citizens of the country.

Consequently, the agency has cascaded its activities under four directorates which are Diaspora Community Development Directorate, Diaspora Participation Directorate, Information, Research and Communication Affairs Directorate, and Rights and Legal Protection Affairs Directorate. However, the focus of this article is on Diaspora Participation Directorate according to the information obtained from documents and website of the agency.

The Diaspora Participation Directorate is a key part of the Directorate’s Trade, Investment and Tourism’s Department. It provides a single window service at the agency for the business and investment activities carried out by the Diaspora in the country. It is a working unit that promotes the role of knowledge and technology transfer of the diaspora.

In other words, the Diaspora Participation Coordination Directorate has been set up with a number of existing experiences and the current type and purpose of the Diaspora. Under the Directorate of Trade, it is a key part of the business and tourism division. It will provide the agency with a single window service for the business and investment activities carried out by the Diaspora.

The Diaspora Tourism Organizations and Diaspora Associations engaged in tourism support to increase the role of Diaspora and the country-promoting programs organized by the Diaspora. Formats and coordinates projects that will allow the Diaspora to visit and explore the tourist destination areas in our country.

Knowledge and technology transfer Unit is one of the jobs that the Agency has been working on to build and strengthen existing experiences. Knowledge and technology transfer sector plays a major role working as part of the Ministry of Education particularly the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

It will coordinate activities in modernizing the work of universities, hospitals, and other educational and training institutions through the support of the Diaspora or other donor agencies acquired by the Diaspora. It works jointly with the relevant institutions to organize the best practices of trade and investment participation in a systematic manner to expand and distribute in the country.

The resource gathering and project division is a third part, which primarily aims to widen of the source of resources and contribute to the national development with the help of projects that are already being developed. It will work to involve the diverse Diaspora communities in the selected small and intermediate projects in the home country.

The Diaspora associations will also promote and support project activities to benefit from a variety of Civic Society Funds. At the agency level, it coordinates different tasks in designing projects and fund raising of diverse projects related to the Diaspora society (eg., children, women, seniors and persons with disabilities).

Provides project assistance to help the diaspora coordinate their internal capacities and mobilize additional resources from outside sources to provide civic and charitable activities in their home country.

It will work with international agencies to prepare projects for capacity building of agency, staff and government agencies related to the work of the Agency. Constantly supervises the use of additional resources available. Generally, this unit is dedicated to expanding resources and providing a better experience for the Agency as a strong institution.

The Diaspora Associations and Charities Welfare Department works to strengthen the Diaspora Associations at the foreign and national level. It will provide professional associations, ways to enhance their wealth options and legal support.

It will coordinate the efforts of Ethiopian Diaspora and foreign nationals to volunteer in education, health, community services and other sectors. It works to create a union between the various organizations established by the Ethiopian Diaspora and Ethiopian nationals living in various parts of the world.

The society encourages the provision of community services in the home country and facilitates the conditions. It will seek legal and regulatory policies to address the problems the Ethiopian diaspora association encounters.

It creates opportunities for Ethiopian associations in the country to work and the Diaspora unions to work together and build capacity. The Diaspora Associations coordinates the establishment of various types of charitable institutions in their countries and strengthen existing institutions through financial, professional and material support.

Therefore, the Ethiopian diaspora has great opportunities to do businesses and to invest in Ethiopia as the agency has created a good clear command of chain that facilitates the service delivery. Using the principles and the opportunities are to the choice of the diaspora.

The Ethiopian Herald February 2/2021

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