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Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s (PhD), request to meet with the Ethiopian Diaspora community in Dallas at its big football event in July, was not approved. However, the Ethiopian embassy in Washington DC is actively gathering thousands of Diaspora members to talk with the PM, Capital learned. Since PM Abiy took the position, the country has observed massive and unexpected changes that are very popular among Ethiopians inside and outside the country as well as the international community. The PM has met with a diverse array of community and social groups throughout the country during his first 90 days in office and has instigated political and social reforms.
The measures taken by his government have grabbed extra ordinary support for the PM, which included a rally last Saturday at the Meskel Square in Addis Ababa. Other events were held throughout Ethiopia and Washington DC, a major center for Ethiopian Diaspora. According to the information that Capital obtained from sources, the PM is expected to meet with an immense number of Ethiopian Diaspora in the near future. Recently the ruling party EPRDF announced the government would move to privatize some big enterprises and the Ethiopian Diaspora are expected to be the major players.
The PM has also called for the Diaspora to be part of the change in the country. This has included outlawed opposition members that he has invited for discussions about political reforms. Some of the opposition groups have already announced that they have accepted his invitation and entered the country. According to sources, the Ethiopian embassy in Washington DC is working to gather thousands at the meeting with the PM.
It is expected that the government would take new approaches with the role of Diaspora on the Ethiopian economy and investment, which the Diaspora would welcome as they have repeatedly asked for the government to make it easier to invest here.
Several sectors like the finance and telecom are the top areas that the Diaspora want to be open to them in order to participate.
For instance early this week the Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum organizer, Ethiopian American LLC, that hosted 11 events in Ethiopia and the US, announced that the agendas of its latest event will focus on opening up investment sectors to the Diaspora.
They said that the 12th edition of the annual Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum will this year focus on what roles the Diaspora may have in the future socio-economic landscape of the changing Ethiopia.
The Forum that will be held on July 7 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Washington DC under the theme “The Future of Diaspora Investment in Ethiopia: Exploring the Role of the Diaspora and New Opportunities,” shall see the organized points that would be tabled for the PM at his meeting with the Diaspora.
The theme of the forum is timely and critically important for the Ethiopian Diaspora community which is keen to chart out what positive roles to play in the fast changing Ethiopian landscape and the future of its economy and the community, according to the organizers.
“Ethiopia is at a crossroad in many ways. The recent economic reforms announced by the Government of Ethiopia will significantly change the way the Ethiopian Diaspora will invest and work in Ethiopia,” Yohannes Assefa, Executive Director of the Forum and Managing Director of the Ethiopian American LLC said.
According to Yohannes, the Diaspora business community is eagerly awaiting to participate and support the process of liberalization in a thoughtful and prudent manner. “We are hopeful and encouraged by the proposed changes. We believe we can add value and contribute to the process while helping to avoid unintended challenges that could easily result from this process.”
In its statement Ethiopian American LLC sent to Capital, a range of new investment policies have been tabled for discussion, including the opening of specific sectors in the past closed for Diaspora investment in Ethiopia.
“The potential opening of the financial sector, media and telecom to Diaspora investments along with the ability of Diaspora professionals from the legal and other sectors to participate in Ethiopia’s economy is monumental,” the statement added. It says these changes will have huge impacts in the way the Diaspora will engage in Ethiopia’s economy in the near future.
Ethiopian American LLC stated that Abiy is scheduled to travel to Washington to engage the Ethiopian Diaspora in the US during which he is also expected to announce a new approach of his administration in relation to Diaspora engagement.
Meles Alem, Spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Capital that he does not have any information about the PM meeting with the Diaspora in the US.