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«Table of contents Title Introduction Part one.................................................... ...»

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Diaspora Policy

Table of contents



Part one............................................................ 2

1. Review of Diaspora participation.................................... 2

1.1. Global status of Diaspora participation

1.2. Review of the Ethiopian Diaspora

2. Relevance of the Ethiopian Diaspora Policy.......................... 6

3. Definition and objectives of the Diaspora Policy...................... 7

3.1. Definition

3.2. General Objective of the Policy Part two............................................................ 8

4. Basic principles of the Policy....................................... 8

4.1. A sector wide approach

4.2. Effectiveness

4.3. Resources Utilization

4.4. Complementarities

4.5. Participatory

4.6. Transparency

4.7. Partnership

5. Major Goals of the policy...........................................9

5.1. Preserving the rights and benefits of the Diaspora

5.2. Improving Diaspora engagement in investment, trade and tourism

5.3. Enhancing knowledge and technology transfer

5.4. Encouraging foreign currency inflow and Diaspora participation

5.5. Promoting cultural values and promoting image building

5.6. Advancing Diaspora participation in good governance and democracy

5.7. Encouraging philanthropy and development associations

5.8. Participation on issues concerning national image building Part three.......................................................... 17

6. Strategies of the policy............................................ 17

6.1. Establishing reliable information collection and delivery system

6.2. Rewarding and recognizing Diaspora participation

6.3. Encouraging organized participation

6.4. Issuance of identification card

6.5. Assisting members of the Diaspora

7. Executive bodies of the Policy....................................... 21 Introduction In this regard, many among the Diaspora are registering concrete results by engaging in investment, trade and tourism in the country, in transfer of foreign currency, knowledge and technology, and image building. With this development in mind it has become imperative to prepare a Diaspora Policy that can efficiently respond to the need to ensure active Diaspora participation in political, economic and social activities of the country so that it benefitsfrom its engagement and contributes to the well being of the country.

The Policy document, is, therefore prepared by making detailed research on previous directives and implementation of the activities pertaining to the Diaspora, and using the best experiences of other countries, different written materials on the subject, experience sharing forums, and suggestions by the Diaspora as inputs.

The Policy document is divided into three parts. Part one focuses on the definition, vision, mission, objectives and relevance of the policy and the review of the global status of Diaspora engagement. Part two deals with the basic principles of and major goals of the policy. Part three presents the strategies and implementing bodies of the policy.

Part one

1. Review of Diaspora participation

1.1. Global status of Diaspora participation Mankind has been migrating since very ancient time from one place to another for various reasons. Historians define the human movement from East Africa to the rest of the world as the first migration. Many such migrations manifested in different ways have occurred since then. However, massive flux of people from places to places is a recent phenomenon.

Post cold war era, globalization has brought with it an accelerated circulation of capital, goods, information and with it an ever increased human migration. Modern, fast and reliable modes of transport and communication contribute much to this phenomenon. Nowadays 3% of the total world populations, that is, more than 200 million people live outside their birth place, and studies suggest that the figure will rise by 2.9% annually. Even though human migration can be caused by war and other related causes, the main factor has now become lack of job opportunities and low level development in developing countries and the presumed availability of conducive atmosphere and opportunities in the developed world.

Migration can be viewed differently from the angle of the source and the destination country. There is a tendency to consider migration as completely harmful as it drains educated man power of the source countries, while on the other hand it is believed that the Diaspora could contribute to the development of their home countries through remittance, knowledge and technology transfer, investment, etc.

However most people have agreed that citizen’s contribution for their country, while they are outside of their home land, is limited compared to their contribution while living in their home country.

In a similar view, destination countries blame migration as a factor for limiting employment opportunities for their own citizens; though on the contrary indicate its advantage of filling the gap for the jobs that have employee shortages.

Recognizing the difficulty to stop the movement of people from place to place, an international consensus has been reached on the idea that both countries of origin and destination create a system to minimize the shortcomings of migration and work to capitalize the mutual benefit.

Hence, various studies indicate that, migration has its own contribution to bring about better economic development in developing countries through raising additional finance, creating knowledge and technology transfer and reducing poverty as well as filling employment gaps in destination countries if they are geared in a right policy direction.

As a result of this, the Diaspora affair is getting special attention on bilateral relations of different countries, and also on international cooperation forums.

Hence, various countries are establishing institutional structures and designing policies for their Diaspora community to participate in knowledge and technology transfer, trade, investment and tourism promotions, raising foreign currency, image building, and serving as a bridge for the country as well as participating in charity works while they are living in destination countries or going back to their country of origin. Some countries which implemented such a system in advance are proved to be successful.

1.2. Survey on the participation of Ethiopian Diaspora It has been long time since Ethiopians start to leave their home land and migrate to various countries due to political, economic and social reasons. Ethiopia has been also known as the destination country for Jew, Armenians, Arabs, Greeks, Turkish, etc. migrants. Documents indicate that during the emperor’s time and following the expansion of modern education in the country, Ethiopians used to come back and serve their country after they completed their education in Europe and North America.

Following the overthrow of the emperor’s administration by the dictatorial military regime, with the exception of a few, most Ethiopians who were abroad for their education remain in their respective countries. Emanating from the dictatorial behavior of the regime, educated people in the country and farmers who reside in the borderlines of neighboring countries lost their hope and were obliged to leave the country. Without considering citizens who left to other destinations, this made Ethiopia the top ten source of migration in North America.

After the demise of the Dergue regime and the coming in to power of the EPRDF government, citizens are continuing to travel to other countries to get higher education opportunities, get access to resident permits of various countries and are becoming beneficiaries of that country’s opportunities.

It is estimated that not less than 2 million Ethiopian Diasporas are residing in countries of North America, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Africa, of which people in North America and Europe have better income and educational status.

Members of the Diaspora community living in North America and Europe have recently started to support their families and country through investing their money in different sectors of the economy, transferring knowledge and technology, sending remittances etc, apart from building the country’s image and standing for the causes of the country.

Most unskilled and some semi-skilled labors who traveled to the Middle East to exploit the opportunity created in the labor work sector are responding swiftly for the call of the country and the government. They are also contributing immensely by participating in different investment sectors and send remittances for their families. In general, even though the growing trend of illegal migration towards the Middle East creates a complicated situation in the effort to protect their rights, it is indicative that there is a possibility to create a condition to reap better benefits from the Diaspora by solving the problems through time.

South Africa, on the other hand, has become a new destination in Africa among educated and non-educated Ethiopians. Botswana and Equatorial Guinea can also be mentioned as destination countries especially for Ethiopian professionals.

It is believed, therefore, that by creating conducive environment and strengthening the relationship with these citizens, there is a chance for the country and the people to harness a better benefit.

In addition to these, the number of new generations living around the world and adoptee who are traveling to western countries is huge. There is a possibility for the country to gain immeasurable benefits by twining these generation and adoptee with their culture, language and other social values.

In general, Ethiopia is among the countries whose people migrate in a very high rate. On the one hand, this indicates that measures have to be taken to minimize the brain drain. It also indicates that engaging the Diaspora residing in different parts of the world and creating conducive environment for them to participate in the country’s development endeavor is pressing.

2. Relevance of the Ethiopian Diaspora Policy The initial point for the formulation of Diaspora policy is the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia foreign affairs and national security policy and strategy document. In this policy document stated that Ethiopians in the Diaspora could play an important role in carrying out research and investing at home. In addition they could win friends for Ethiopia and try to influence their country of residence to cooperate with our country. Cognizant of the key roles played by Ethiopian residing abroad, the government should take initiatives in creating the most conducive environment for them to play constructive role Having a Diaspora Engagement Affairs Directorate General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and collaborative work at the Federal and Regional level;

providing foreign nationals of Ethiopians origin with certain rights to be exercised in their country of origin proclamation; and allowing opening bank account in foreign currencies; to tackle the bottlenecks of Diaspora.

Even if the above measures have taken place, no policy has been promulgated to guide the Diaspora’s affairs and few efforts are made to utilize their economic potential and skill in an organized way in their original country in a consistent way.

With a view to make the Diaspora fully aware of the peace, development and democracy endeavors of their country and the results so far registered, and in order to make them actively participate accordingly, therefore, it is essential to adopt a national Diaspora policy that would protect their rights abroad and to solve domestic bottlenecks confronting them.

3. Definition and General Objective of the Policy

3.1. Definition Ethiopian Diaspora means Ethiopians and Ethiopian origins that live outside Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Diaspora Policy means a document containing objectives, strategies and other activities aimed at informing the various services rendered to ensure participation of the Ethiopian Diaspora and their rights and benefits on one hand, and ensuring the utilization of Diaspora transfer of knowledge, finance, interactions and other contributions on the other hand.

3.2. General objective of the Diaspora Policy

To build up strong relationship between Diaspora with their origin country Ethiopia. Encouraging and facilitating conducive environment for participation of Diaspora on ongoing peace and democratization building process to benefit their county and to benefit from their engagement and to preserve their rights and interests abroad.

PART TWO4. Basic principles of the Policy

This policy document has identified main issues relating to the Diaspora. It is believed that the partnership of the Ethiopian Diaspora with their country will be strengthened by implementing these activities. This partnership will be based on commonly shared national interests and uses the country’s policy directions as the basis to make it more transparent.

4.1. A Sector wide Approach To give effect to the Diaspora policy, Diaspora affairs shall be done collaboratively with many stakeholders.

4.2. Effectiveness It should be underlined that the Diaspora Policy should support poverty eradication activities; the alpha and omega of our endeavors.

4.3. Resources Utilization Assuring the execution of Diaspora Policy must be considered in the availability of our resource and capacity.

4.4. Complementarity The Diaspora policy shall be implemented in an integrated way with national development policies, strategies and programs.

4.5. Participatory The Diaspora Policy shall be implemented in participation of government, non- government and the Diaspora.

4.6. Transparency The Diaspora Policy shall be followed its implementation with transparency approach.

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