The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) announced on April 17, 2012 that up to a thousand Ethiopians and the Ethiopian Diaspora are expected to
participate in the upcoming discussion between the Government and Diaspora on April 24 at the Ethiopian Civil Service University.
This year’s event was will be held to coincide together with the Ethiopian Diaspora which came for the Easter Holiday as well as those engaged locally in development, trade and other professional activities.
Mulugeta Kelil, Diaspora engagement affairs director general at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the forum will discuss the draft Diaspora policy document currently being prepared in consultation with Ethiopian Diaspora in 24 global cities with high concentration of Ethiopian expats as well as Diaspora living in Ethiopia.
He also said a framework is being prepared under the Ethiopian Civil Service Ministry to deal with issues related to the Diaspora.
The forum also hopes to analyze the Diaspora’s possible involvement in the Growth and Transformation plan.
It is expected to be attended by officials from MoFA, Federal and regional level officials, government communication officials and relevant experts.
The draft Diaspora policy document is currently in the process of being prepared to be tabled to MoFA’s board committee for discussion before being sent to the council of Ministers for final approval.
Mulugeta also said the forum hopes to talk about the flow of remittances from the Diaspora as well as technical and financial help they can bring for the 6,000 Mega Watt Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) construction.
MoFA has so far announced that it had collected USD 7 million from the Ethiopian Diaspora for the construction of the GERD through bond sales, which it hopes to further strengthen through the newly formed Diaspora Renaissance Council whereby the prosperous and less fortunate Diaspora members can work together to contribute to the construction of GERD.
Also to be discussed at the meeting are issues concerning lack of good governance in Addis Ababa and regional state cities for investment by Ethiopian Diaspora as well as possible solutions, which are to be provided by both sides.
Particular attention has been given by the ministry relating to investment from Diaspora members residing in North America, Europe and to a lesser extent from Southern Africa.
Feisel Aliyi, Director of Diaspora participation and engagement directorate at MoFA, said one of the aims of the meeting it to formalize the budding relationship between the government and Ethiopian Diaspora, which so far has been done on an informal level.
It was also announced by the ministry that in addition to collecting and strengthening information, it is establishing in Addis and regional state, capital cities offices to service and address Diaspora issues such as investment opportunities, educational prospects and other sectors.
MoFA roughly estimates that around two million Ethiopians and people of Ethiopian origin reside outside of Ethiopia.