The Diaspora Engagement Coordination Forum which took place on Friday 18 November 2016 discussed a range of issues to boost the Ethiopian Diaspora engagement in the country’s overall socio, economic and political development.
Stakeholders from government and non-governmental institutions participated. In the opening session to evaluate achievements in the first quarter of Ethiopian 2009 budget year (2016-2017), Demeke Atnafu, Director General for Diaspora Engagement Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, noted that the Ministry, Ethiopian missions abroad, Regional Diaspora Engagement Offices, the Ethiopian Diaspora Association and other government and non-government stakeholders had been working to enhance Diaspora involvement.
Among their activities had been the coordinating the Second Ethiopian Diaspora day celebrations, delivering necessary investment information to members of the Diaspora, working with Internal Office of Migration to enhance the technology and knowledge transfer of the Ethiopian Diaspora’s in the Netherlands and the hiring of a consultancy firm to conduct research on how to implement a Diaspora mapping project in the United States. Equally, successfully achieving the goals of Diaspora Engagement had yet to be achieved.
Mr. Awlachew Masre, Head of Amhara Regional State Diaspora Engagement Coordination Office, said that close to 3,500 members of the Diaspora participated in the 2nd Ethiopian Diaspora Day celebration in Bahir Dar. For the first time the Diaspora Knowledge and Technology Transfer Workshop had held among professional members of the Diaspora. This had been very successful, and had a profound effect. The Ethiopian Somali Diaspora Association head, Mr. Abdiwahab Yusuf, gave an account of the successful outreach tour of the Somali Regional president and other officials in Australia and United States, meeting members of the Ethiopian Somali community residing in those countries. He stressed that his office had achieved considerable success in mobilizing the Ethiopian Somali Diaspora to counter destructive propaganda by extremist elements abroad.
The Forum welcomed the fact that in the first quarter of this financial year, 1,859 members of the Diaspora opened bank accounts and saved nearly 12 million US dollars. Participants discussed the need to offer support to investors from the Diaspora, and provide accurate and timely information to members of the Diaspora wherever they might be, as well as implement the Diaspora mapping project and deliver all necessary consular services to the Diaspora through Ethiopian Embassies and Consulates. They agreed to continue to exert every effort to help boost the Ethiopian Diaspora engagement in the country’s affairs.