Ethiopians Discuss Draft Diaspora Policy in London
December 5, 2011 – LONDON
Ethiopians in the UK deliberated on a new Draft Diaspora Policy at a meeting held on the 3rd December at the London Ethiopian Embassy in the presence of HE Ato Nega Tsegaye, State Minister for Foreign Affairs.
In his speech at the gathering, the State Minister underlined how central it is for the developmental state to enhance public participation as a major force behind the nation building scheme.
At the heart of the building of a democratic order and the enhancement of economic growth lies the improvement of people’s living conditions; they are now savouring a fair distribution of resources commensurate to their contribution.
Cognizant of the role the Diaspora plays, as part of the wider community, in the transformation underway in the country, the state minister said, the Government has taken measures including the institution of a number of legal frameworks safeguarding their benefits and rights while opening up opportunities for greater involvement in all areas of endeavour.
Ethiopians and Foreign Nationals of Ethiopian origin presently enjoy a number of rights including ownership of assets and engagement in areas of investment and trade as guaranteed by law.
The State Minister said the Diaspora Policy envisages widening and facilitating their participation and cited, as a case in point, the sale of Renaissance Dam Bonds which is an investment that will accrue interest in the process of supporting the utilization of resources for enhanced economic development. Ethiopians could safely deposit their hard won wages taking advantage of the Renaissance Dam Bond which is government guaranteed.
By taking part in this grand scheme at the centre of the Growth and Transformation Plan members of the Diaspora will significantly contribute to its success, which will see Ethiopia generate 5,250 MW of power, energy much needed by the nation’s ever growing economy.
He urged participants to purchase the bond which would also boost the saving culture and thereby create the capital for future investment in different sectors of the economy.
In a briefing he gave at the meeting, Head of the Community Affairs Directorate General, Ato Mulugeta Kelile, on his part elaborated on steps taken by Government to facilitate Diaspora participation over the years including the formation of his department tasked with the responsibility to coordinate all efforts to this end.
The draft Diaspora Policy, he said, hinges upon the principles of a sector-wide approach, effectiveness, resource efficiency and complementarity.
The major objectives of the policy will be safeguarding the well-being and rights of the Diaspora, raising awareness about services available at Ethiopian Missions, supporting community members in difficult times, facilitating conditions for their active involvement in investment, trade, tourism and technological transfer, to mention but a few.
Speaking earlier to the more than 350 participants, Ethiopian Ambassador to the UK, HE Berhanu Kebede, called on participants to actively participate in the discussion that will enrich the draft policy which will guide future activities, benefiting the Diaspora and the homeland.
He said, at a time when the implementation of the GTP is in top gear, the Diaspora should enhance their involvement in all areas of development and he urged participants to buy the Renaissance Dam bonds to help meet the drive to generate power that is instrumental for faster economic growth, crucial in the fight against poverty.
On the margins of the meeting, a number of the community members extended gifts and bought bonds amounting to 235,000 birr [about £9,000], vowing to intensify efforts for the realization of the grand project by organizing volunteer groups to raise more funds.
In a lively debate, participants came up with constructive ideas for enriching the policy. They also raised questions pertaining to bureaucratic bottlenecks, dual citizenship, power of attorney, challenges Ethiopian workers face in the Middle East ,educational opportunities and so forth, to which the State Minister and the Director General gave exhaustive replies.
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