Ethiopia: Widening Diaspora Participation Via Trust Fund

Jul 31, 2018 | AllAfrica

From sending remittance to purchasing bonds of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the diaspora community despite lots of barriers have been contributing financially as per of supporting the socioeconomic development of their country. But their contribution has not been sufficient given their size. Mainly,the long lasted political polarization has fractured relation with the government and the division among the diaspora is said to have negative impact on their participation on national dev't.

However as the country found itself back on the path of unity and solidarity besides embarking on inclusive political space , there comes lots of opportunities and enabling environments for the diaspora to further engage at national developments. While the government is making extensive effort to embolden the diaspora to send money through formal channel and increase the volume of remittance, ,the messages of reconciliation and unity by the new leadership have seemed to be well taken with the return of politicians and easing of currency blockade. Remittance is usually considered as low-hanging fruit where the country benefit as foreign currency. However, the desire of diaspora to assist to fellow compatriots at home led countries to come up with lost of mechanisms. Suffice it to mention China and India that have a great number of Diasporas living across the world. Some countries that have understood the great deal of diaspora potential, have established various channels to facilitate diaspora investments, including diaspora trust funds.The Diaspora Trust Funds are believed to enhance the financial inclusion of diaspora participation. In what could be said a great move, recently, the Diaspora Trust Fund proposed by Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed on his appearance to the House of People's Representatives. Subsequently was welcomed by Ethiopian Diaspora Association. This offers the diaspora community an additional means to finance social services. Each and every member of the Diaspora community would contribute one dollar a day to assist the development undertaking at home. Consequently, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) revealed Diaspora Trust Fund account where Ethiopian diaspora are expected to make financial contributions meant for expanding social service facilities. All funds will be funneled directly to the expansion of social service facilities to benefit the rural community. Bank has established a special desk that handles issues relating to the Trust Fund account. The account number 1000255726725 is fully dedicated to this purpose and the Bank works in concert with over 20 money transfer organization which the Community could use for their contribution Commercial Bank President Bacha Gina. "The government will also establish an organization that manages the Trust Fund soon," Shortly after the announcement, diasporas and the Ethiopia Diasporas Association have welcomed the move and are expressing commitment to realize the proposal of the government. The initiative is a good gesture and an important step to get the Diaspora involved in the socioeconomic undertakings of the country, said Association Chief Executive Director Abraham Seyoum. "We're ready to help to our capacity in the entire process once the details are fully prepared by the government," according to him. The issue would be top on the agenda in the upcoming Premier's visit to the US, he said, adding that the step is crucial to include the Diaspora in national issues. The members of the Diaspora community living across the world are expressing their support to the initiative and the Association will do its part towards its success, Abreham added. According to Abraham, his Association would do to its level best as partner of Ministry of Foreign Affairs to materialize the initiative. One of the priorities of embassies is to strengthen link between the government and the diaspora. The consulates and embassies should conduct awareness raising program. There must be strong corrdination and up-to-date information regarding the while process and development of the trust fund. In a move to mobilize the diaspora to make the financial contribution, Ethiopian embassies have already started discussion with respective Diaspora to facilitate the fund raising efforts and discuss the matter thoroughly. Above all with staggering number of Ethiopian diaspora living in the USA, the visit by Dr. Abiy is expected to further pave a way to create mutual understanding on the Fund and other national issues. Source: AllAfrica