Addis Ababa July 01/2018 Experts urged the government to set up a system for effective management and implementation of Diaspora Trust Fund that would help Ethiopians across the world to fulfill their role in building better nation.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, Assistant Professor in Civil Service University at Department of Development Management, Kassa Teshager said the establishment the Trust Fund is instrumental for promoting and encouraging the involvement of Ethiopians residing in foreign lands in the economic development of their country.
There are more than three million Ethiopians living and working overseas, out of which some 250,000 have permanent resident permits to live in USA only, according to the assistance professor.
“The nation should set up a system that will enable the government to utilize the fund for targeted population for which the fund has been established. In addition to this, there should be also formally established board that will be a moderator between Ethiopians in the diaspora and the government to manage and use the fund for social services and economic activities,” he said.
Professor Kassa said, “I think following the calls made by the Premier, Ethiopians residing in foreign lands will have options to support their country. Of course, similar programs have been conducted in several other countries across the world, but Ethiopians were lagging behind in forming such a fund.”
The long term effect of the Trust Fund would be providing of social services to hitherto unreached section of the population, the Assistance Professor added.
Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund will be one way of linking Diaspora community with their country of origin and to develop sense of belongingness and confidence to invest in the country.
He pointed out that the government needs to come up with regulations that will help to manage the diaspora fund.
“Those who contribute to the trust fund should also receive updated information about the financial expenditure on projects that are covered by the resources from the trust fund,” he said.
“There should be independent organization that will work closely together with government to make the effect of trust fund in changing the livelihood of diaspora themselves and the country,” he stated.
He noted that Ethiopia can learn a lot from an Israel diaspora initiative called ‘Kibbutzim’, which he said it is a kind of trust fund they have started long time ago to re-establish Israel.
Dr. Getaneh Mehari, an Anthropologist at Addis Ababa University, said as the result of the recent reforms led by Prime Minister Abiy, the entire Ethiopians even those residing abroad are inspired to contribute for the national development.
He said “if we have good political atmosphere and then certain policy changes including incentive supports that encourages enabling situation in Ethiopia, people tend to come and support their country with the knowledge and resources they have.”
He also emphasized on the significant importance of creating suitable situation for intellectuals to play their role in ongoing economic efforts.
“Intellectuals residing out the country want to serve their people and country with their resources and knowledge, but the situation must be suitable for intellectuals to contribute to the wellbeing of their country including the economic development of the country. Some sort of freedom and some sort of convince situation must be put in places which were lacked in the past,” he said.
It is to be recalled that recently Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has taken an initiative to establish a diaspora trust fund to finance social services in the country.
The Premier requested the diaspora community to save a dollar a day to support development projects in Ethiopia, such as education and health services