For the love of one’s country

For the love of one’s country

Tedros Adhanom Ethiopian Diaspora

Ethiopian diaspora invests over 22.3 billion in two decades

By Yohannes Anberbir

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Despite failure to meet expectations, the gross total investment outstanding that the Ethiopian diaspora community have brought back home is reported to be in excess of 22 billion birr since the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) came to power. However, only 2,947 of the estimated three million diaspora community have actually dared to come to their country to invest.

These (2,947 investors) stand for a stark 0.1 percent of the overall Ethiopian diaspora living abroad, indicating a failure to tap into the diaspora potential. Furthermore, the diaspora investment was also reported to have offered employment opportunities to 125,000 workers across the country.

In a workshop organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and held at the Addis Ababa Hilton Hotel last week, where more than five hundred diaspora returnees were in attendance, the major challenges for these missed opportunities were discussed in detail.

During the discussions, the returnees emphasized on the stiff bureaucratic apparatus and the government structure as major deterrents to investing in the country. Some of the businessmen said on the occasion that they came to the meeting to try one last chance at finding ears to hear their problems before they decide to go back aboard. The government on its part accepted the criticism.

The returnees blamed the local administrators at lower levels for the problems that they face and requested the government to look into it critically; it was also stated by some of the participants that it took two or more years to get investment licenses.

Tedros Adhanom (Ph.D.), minister of Foreign Affairs, said during the discussion that a department has been established with the rank of directorate at the ministry to cater to these issues and work cooperatively with other government offices. He also promised that the ministry understands the gap.

He stated that with all the bureaucracy and challenges, the diaspora continues to contribute its fair share and the amount of remittance that came from the diaspora living abroad during the last three years is about some 5.7 billion dollars.

According to him, the contribution of the diaspora to the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD,) both in forms of gifts and purchase of government bonds is also greatly appreciated and is currently amounts to 251.1 million dollars.

Source: The Reporter

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