What Ethiopia offers to a million diaspora coming home

What Ethiopia offers to a million diaspora coming home

BY ANDUALEM SISAY GESSESSE – About a week ago the Government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia has invited one million Ethiopians in the diaspora to come home and celebrate Ethiopian Christmas (Genna).

The invitation of the government came days after the Ethiopian National Defense Force’s victories over Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) rebels that set free over a dozen towns in Amhara and Afar regions.

The news about the victories of Ethiopian forces at the battle fields followed after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed joins the army on November 22, 2021 to lead the war on the frontline. His decision has not only set free the areas under the invasion of TPLF, which is designated as terrorist group by Ethiopian Parliament, but also foiled the wishes of the sponsors to destabilize Ethiopia.

These sponsors include Egypt, the historic enemy of Ethiopia, which has for centuries been attempting to control the source of the Abbay River, and the United States, which has been favoring Egypt and TPLF by imposing sanctions on the democratically elected Government of Ethiopia.

Angry by the latest actions of the United States, which activated all instruments at its disposal including its media and sanctions to support the terrorist group, Ethiopians in the diaspora have been protesting in tens of thousands saying #NoMore to America’s meddling in the internal affairs of the never colonized African sovereign nation – Ethiopia.

Ethiopian and Eritrean origins in the United States have also organized themselves to counter the misguided U.S. foreign policy against Ethiopia by recently denying their votes to the Democratic party in Virginia.

This has led the Republican candidate to win the election about a month ago. In what looks tit-for-tat, Ethiopian diaspora in the United Sates have vowed to continue denying their votes to the Dem in regions such as Georgia and the like unless the U.S. hands off Ethiopia.

The #NoMore movement launched by the Ethiopians in the diaspora has now expanded to become a movement by many Pan-Africanists as an anticolonialism and ant neocolonialism campaign against the new scramble for Africa by the United States and its allies using terrorists and puppet like, TPLF and Boko Haram, among others.

The Ethiopians in the diaspora have also began mobilizing resources and donations to rebuild their motherland and support the millions of Ethiopians displaced by TPLF perpetrated war started on November 3, 2020.

Such supports are expected to be instrumental in recovery of Ethiopia as the United States and its Western allies have been cutting aid to the east African country as part of their mounting pressure on the Government of Ethiopia.

Why call home one million Ethiopians

When we look why Prime Minister Abiy Administration has called one million Ethiopians to come home next month, it has many positive implications on the rebuilding process of stronger Ethiopia.

Though Ethiopia is one of the richest nations in the world in terms of natural resources including millions of hectares of arable land and abundant water with over 50 million energetic youth generation, the country has been foreign food aid dependent of the Western countries who brought TPLF to power in 1991.

One of the issues the Ethiopian diaspora, who are coming home be it a million, or more or a quarter of them, should consult with the Government of Ethiopia in my opinion has to be how they can support the economy of Ethiopia and set free their motherland from foreign aid like the neighboring Eritrea.

Beyond coming together for the #NoMore protests, Ethiopians in the diaspora should discuss with their Eritrean friends about how their country remained free of foreign aid and maintained its independence in the face of sanctions by the global powers such as, the United States.

Upon coming home, these Ethiopians in the diaspora should also need to consult with the Government of Ethiopia about the key areas of their engagement in a way that can bring sustainable positive change in the lives of millions of Ethiopians on the economic and political fronts in general.

They should also consult on how these Ethiopians in the diaspora can empower themselves economically like the Jews community across the world and influence the perspectives of decision makers in different countries about Ethiopia.

I think these Ethiopians in the diaspora expected to come home should ask the Government of Ethiopia to provide them a roadmap that allows them to collectively invest in the labor and skills, and natural respaces of Ethiopia mainly agriculture, mining and tourism.

With the right conducive investment and financial policy in Ethiopia, Ethiopians in the diaspora can come up with many creative plans of mobilizing collectively billions of dollars to be invested in Ethiopia in those priority sectors and others.

They should ask the Government of Ethiopia to give them specific location / wereda (district) based investment areas in which they can invest in and impact lives of many millions of Ethiopians creating jobs, generating tax revenues and hard currencies to the government by exporting services and goods.

Bonding Ethiopian diaspora and lucrative investments

One may argue that the priority of the engagement of the Ethiopian diasporas coming home should be the reconstruction of the infrastructures vandalized by TPLF and the rehabilitation of millions of internally displaced Ethiopians.

I completely agree with that. Meanwhile from experience of Ethiopia and many countries, aid doesn’t bring lasting solution.

Side by side to these reconstruction and rehabilitation donations and efforts, Ethiopians in the diaspora and at home need to mobilize every resource to be invested in the most profitable and impactful businesses.

That is why Africa has been urging time and again to shift from aid to trade. It is only through mutually beneficiary trade and investment that Ethiopia and Ethiopians for that matter the whole Africa, can get out of poverty once and for all.

That is why both the Government of Ethiopia and the Ethiopians in the diaspora need to think and act now to mobilize resource for investment in Ethiopia.

We know that Ethiopia from North to South, and West to the East, it is endowed with various types of precious minerals. This is of course ignoring the untapped crude oil and gas reserve of the country found in Western, Eastern, central and Southern Ethiopia.

For now, let’s leave that to foreign investors with the experiences of exploiting those resources and give priority for the Ethiopians in the diaspora to invest in the minerals sector development.

Diaspora investment opportunity in minerals development

For instance, some of these minerals like phosphate and potash found in abundance in Afar region, are unreplaceable and vital to produce industrial fertilizers.

In fact, the future of food security which cannot be realized without the use of industrial fertilizers, can not be attained without natural resources of a few countries and places such as, Morocco, China, and Afar Region of Ethiopia, which have huge reserve of potash and phosphates.

And yet paradoxically Ethiopia is currently food insecure and Ethiopians are Western food aid dependent thanks to the conspiracies of Ethiopia’s historical enemies and their puppets like TPLF.

That is why I urge the Government of Ethiopia to give priority to Ethiopians in the diaspora to invest in the development of some of the following mineral resources of Ethiopia – gold, tantalite, sapphires, emeralds, opals, nickel, iron, phosphate, potash, bentonite, diatomite, lithium, coal, silica sand, base metals, kyanite, diatomite, sodium carbonate, marble, clay, kaolin, limestone, platinum, olivine, and granite.

Of course, Ethiopia’s mineral respires are not limited to these items but includes other vital ones including uranium. So far, these minerals in Ethiopia are underdeveloped and has been exploited by contrabandists.

You may say that investment in mining sector is expensive for Ethiopians in the diaspora. You are right it may be expensive for one or a few hundreds of them coming together.

But it is possible for thousands of them if they come together just like tens of thousands of Ethiopians came together and today owns their own banks investing hundreds of millions of dollars.

The will and commitment

All it needs is the will and commitment! It needs only the will and commitment of both the government of Ethiopia and the Ethiopians the diaspora to organize themselves. By the way, money is the least required for an investment. In fact, money is found within the will and commitment of the people.

The Ethiopian youth living in these weredas (districts) where some of these minerals are found can also be shareholders, along with the Ethiopian diaspora, and the Government of Ethiopia to make these investments more sustainable and impactful at local and national level.

Beyond economic gains, such strategical investments protect the energetic rural young generation of Ethiopia from the risky migrations to other countries and to urban areas like Addis Ababa worsening the cost of living for the inhabitants, among others.

The Government of Ethiopia needs to figure out on how these Ethiopians in the diaspora can benefit from these resources, create jobs in millions, and generate tax revenue and foreign currency to Ethiopia.
In my hamble opinion, these Ethiopians in the diaspora who proven time and again their loyalty and love to their motherland, should be more bonded with Ethiopia and its people through such lucrative investments.

Who said mining investment is only limited to foreign investors? Be it foreign direct investment from China or America, such investments have their own negative and positive impacts on the country of investment like Ethiopia in terms of sustainability and brining all-inclusive development.

In fact, giving priority to the Ethiopians in the diaspora to invest in these sectors within their country- Ethiopia will have far much more impacts since they reinvest their profit in Ethiopia and help building indigenous strong economy. We all know how globalizations is being abused and neo-liberalization kept the richest continent and its people poor.

On the contrary, the foreign investors have shown us how they can stop their investment in Ethiopia at any time when they feel or lobbied by others to do so. We have also seen how these foreign investors use sophisticated accounting system, experts, and setup sister companies in tax havens in order to avoid or evade taxes in developing countries, like Ethiopia.

Let’s not forget that all these pressures against the democratically elected government of Ethiopia is partly about linked with the strategy of the Western countries to create several small and weak countries out of destabilized Ethiopia and rob these mineral resources of the country.

That is why they are allergic to the idea of united and strong Ethiopia. That is why they are allergic to a united Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, East Africa, and united Africa in general.

Likewise, millions of Ethiopians in the diaspora can each mobilize a few hundreds of dollars and collectively invest in lodges, agriculture, and fisheries around the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

As I mentioned last week about the potential investment opportunities for the Ethiopians in the diaspora in agriculture sector involving Ethiopian troops, I won’t dwell on that topic in this article. Probably in my next article I will try to go in-depth about the potential of Ethiopians in the diaspora to invest in the tourism sector.

I think in their future public diplomatic campaigns abroad, such critical investments help Ethiopians in the diaspora to boldly speak in confidence publicly that Ethiopia is not the country invested in their lives, but also the country they have also invested in its future and its people. What is the use of political freedom without economic freedom.

So, my fellow Ethiopians in the diaspora, investing in the minerals development of Ethiopia is your right and you deserve priority. So demand your right! Now what is needed from you is only your will and commitment, which can automatically activate the will and commitment of the Government of Ethiopia. #NoMore