The reformist Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed proposed the establishment of Ethiopian diaspora trust fund calling on Ethiopians living abroad to contribute a dollar a day.
“It is estimated that there are some 3 million Ethiopians living abroad. As the number might not be accurate, let’s say ifthere are one million abroad and contribute one dollar a day from their daily macchiato [coffee] to this trust, we can get a million dollar per day. We use that fund to provide clean water to our mothers who drink dirty water with cattle in rural areas,” he said, indicating that the fund will not be abused and professionally managed.
He made the call on Friday commenting on the country’s next year budget 346.9 billion birr (around $12 billion) at the national parliament in Addis Ababa.
Prime Minister Abiy has also call on the intellectuals abroad to voluntarily in help the government to implement efficiently and complete timely its mega projects. He also urged the youth and university graduates in the country to be give free of charge services to their community, such as tutoring high school students.
In order to speed up the economic and political reform the country has been undertaking since he came to power about 3 months ago, Prime Minister Abiy also urged the business community to pay their taxes genuinely and stop smuggling money out of the country.
“It is necessary to monitor and address illegal business transactions. For a developing country like Ethiopia, illegal business transaction is very harmful,” he said.
Prime Minister Abiy has also urged the civil servants to professionally act, serve the public genuinely and stay away from corruption in order to help the country come out of the poverty cycle in a short period of time.
Expressing his optimism about the future of the economy, Prime Minister Abiy has mentioned the potential of using Ethiopia’s natural resources, such as oil, gas, gold ad potash, etc, to foster the development of the country.
“Especially from gold, our benefit so far is insignificant as compared to the potential. Hence we are expected to direct more investments in this area and generate more hard currency,” he said.
In order to save the hard currency spending of the country, the premier stressed the need for the government to focus on the manufacturing sector that uses 100% local inputs.
“… Because of the economic sabotage most of the money is leaving the country for importing those inputs used by the manufacturing sector.As a result the hard currency we have earned will leave the country. Therefore we have to identify and support the manufacturing sectors that use most of their input from local sources. From what we see now, the hard currency leaving the country exceeds the one coming to the country,” he said.
Community direct benefit from mining
The prime minister has also stated the need to device a mechanism where the local communities directly benefit from the mining investments going on in their localities.
“We need to make sure that the local community on the mining areas are directly benefiting from the investments and protect those investments. If they failed to see the indirect benefit of those investments to them, it won’t be easy for them to collaborative. So like other African countries, we need to improve the handling of the investments and make sure that the local communities directly benefit and protect those investments,” said Prime Minister Abiy.
Currently Ethiopia, whose economy has been growing in double digit for over ten years is now facing serious challenges ranging from high unemployment to inflation and over $28 billion foreign debt, to economic sabotages by the people who are resistant to the reform of the new prime minister, among others.
Since coming to power Prime Minister Abiy’s policy of love, forgiveness and summation approach has been welcomed by the mass as illustrated in dozens of rallies that have taken place locally and abroad by the Ethiopians in the diaspora in support of his reform.
After two weeks he is expected to confer with Ethiopian Diaspora in Washington D.C. and California.