Washington D.C. forum to discuss diaspora roles in new Ethiopia

Washington D.C. forum to discuss diaspora roles in new Ethiopia

The 12th edition of the annual Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum will this year focus on what roles the Diaspora may have in the future socio-economic landscape of the changing Ethiopia, organisers announced on Thursday.

The 12th Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum will be held on July 7 at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Washington DC under the theme “The Future of Diaspora Investment in Ethiopia: Exploring the Role of the Diaspora and New Opportunities,” The Ethiopian American LLC, the Virginia based convener of the event said in a press statement.

The theme of the forum is timely and critically important for the Ethiopian Diaspora community which is keen to chart out what positive roles to play in the fast changing Ethiopian landscape and the future of its economy which also impacts the community, according to the organisers.

“Ethiopia is at a crossroad in many ways. The recent economic reforms announced by the Government of Ethiopia will significantly change the way the Ethiopian Diaspora will invest and work in Ethiopia,” Yohannes Assefa, Executive Director of the Forum and Managing Director of the Ethiopian American LLC said.

According to him, the Diaspora business community is eagerly awaiting to participate and support the process of liberalization in a thoughtful and prudent manner. “We are hopeful and encouraged by the proposed changes. We believe we can add value and contribute to the process while helping to avoid unintended challenges that could easily result from this process.”

Ethiopia is in the midst of an economic transition. The country’s economy has been growing by double digit for the past 10 years and has become a top destination for Foreign Direct Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa. Despite the country’s impressive economic growth, many challenges persist.

The 12th Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum will, therefore, review and discuss current business opportunities and challenges in light of the recent shift in investment policy announced by the Government of Ethiopia.

A range of new investment policies have been tabled for discussion, including the opening of specific sectors in the past closed for Diaspora investment in Ethiopia. The potential opening of the financial sector, media and telecom to Diaspora investments along with the ability of Diaspora professionals from the legal and other sectors to participate in Ethiopia’s economy is monumental. These changes will have huge impacts in the way the Diaspora will engage in Ethiopia’s economy in the near future.

The 12th Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum will present highly respected speakers who will speak about their respective current investments in Ethiopia and potential investment/financing opportunities from firms engaged in supporting investments. The Forum will also discuss how best to take advantage of the proposed opening of the financial sector, telecom, media and other sectors currently closed to the Diaspora.

It is reported that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) is scheduled to travel to Washington to engage the Ethiopian Diaspora in the US during which he is also expected to announce new approach of his administration in relation to Diaspora engagement.