Harnessing diaspora’s skills of technology, science for economy’s betterment

Ethiopian diaspora residing abroad have been engaged in the nation political and diplomatic affairs by opposing the intervention of the conceptual western world, which backed the junta. They also aired their voice to support the government’s efforts on the GERD.

They demonstrated in Europe and the USA squares to reveal their plight in front of the Embassies and the UN various branch offices. Not only this, even some invested their money and began running business here in Ethiopia. The outbreak of war in the northern part of Ethiopia enabled them channel their energy towards the common good of the nation. Moreover, the “no more” movement ignited throughout the world further brought them together to voice on behalf of the nation.

Currently by responding to the Prime Minister’s call to come here and spend the Christmas and Epiphany holidays, thousands arrived and participated in discussions with regard to economic and political issues. Among the platform prepared for discussion was organized by the Ministry of Innovation and Technology in collaboration with the Addis Ababa City Administration entitled “the role of the diaspora on science, technology and innovation” After the endorsement of digital Ethiopia 2025 strategy by the Councils of Ministers, the Ministry of Innovation and Technology is implementing programs focuses on sectors such as Agriculture, manufacturing and services which are the main stay of the nation economy. In addition to these, strategy is prepared to encourage job creation and enhancing the foreign currency earning capacity of the nation.

To implement the strategy, it is believed that the role of the well skilled diaspora is immense. On the occasion, the State Minister of the Innovation Bysa Bedada (PHD) said that to transform the nation which is the inhabitant of 115 million from the current status to prosperity the role of the diaspora, the private sector and researchers is immense.

He also said that, the government is dedicating it’s time and energy and various reforming measures are taken therefore, to accelerate the efforts, the diaspora should strength their support.

The State Minister of ICT and Digital Economy Huria Ali on her part said that, the diaspora waged historical struggle in their resident countries and registered tremendous result. Now Ethiopia needs their struggle to be waged in the economic front through utilizing their rich experience in science, technology and innovation domestically.

She also called the diaspora that to benefit Ethiopia in the digital technology; they must support the nation in such venture. The participants, on their part, said that in order to unleash their potential in the technology and innovation creating enabling environment through laying the ground with functioning of institutions and well qualified personnel from the federal up to the woreda level is essential. They also said that, though there is the will on the part of the government to invite diaspora to involve in the investment venture, the pervasive deep rooted bureaucratic hurdles need remedial actions.

After the discussion to tackle the inconvenience that hampers investment, to create investment options and to connect the diaspora with private sector, the government body and other pertinent organs have seen to the establishment of the diaspora forum.

The participant also mentioned that Ethiopia has untapped resources which can be used as inputs in science and technology. Hence, to utilize the resource for advancing the economy, transfer knowledge and engage in the technology exerting efforts in the coordinated manner is vital.

In this regard, the role of the established forum is expected to be immense. Nevertheless, currently the nation easing doing business at global index is at its embryonic stage. Getting business license is not very sluggish and consumes much time and money.

There is an also huge gap in implementing rules and regulations at the lower level of the governmental institutions which in turn hampers realizing the nation’s aspiration to move to prosperity. Hence, implementing the economic reform strictly is essential. Reflecting his view with regard to the establishment of the diaspora forum, the Digital Transformation Program Director at the Ministry of Innovation and Technology Abyot Bayu (PHD) said that the registration of diaspora and local innovators will take place so that identifying each individual’s specialization will be possible.

In addition to these, the task force focuses on digital economy, research, study. And creativity and other sectors will be established and will be operational soon. He also said that, the forum plays pivotal role in connecting each diaspora to the pertinent institutions in need of their relevant innovation so that doing business cooperatively becomes possible. In the meantime the mentioned problems will be tackled.

Abiot further said that in some countries professionals who disseminate information will be established. In addition the forum will have its own web page.

To facilitate the connection between the diaspora, the government and the private sector professor Solomon Negash is assigned in north America, Fisha Mekuria (PHD) in South Africa, Mesfin Nigatu (PHD) in Canada, Fitsum Demisie in Europe and Eyasu Teshome in Australia are nominated.

These professionals will gather interested professional diaspora members and they will abide by the law ratified by the forum. Professionals who could contribute their skill to the forum both here and abroad can be members of the forum and once in a year, they will conduct a seminar in virtual way or through physical contact.

All the participant diaspora pledged to exert their energy for enhancing the nation’s economy by tolerating currently pervasive here and there. One diaspora on his part said that, diaspora members who come here to invest should not focus on profit alone. Rather they must target achieving long-lasting solution for the appalling poverty in which the nation find itself. Currently, the war that broke out in the northern part of the country is reversed. The tide has gone in favor of the government forces and the junta face huge battle ground defeat its ultimate demise. But reconstructing the demolished infrastructure in the war affected areas needs huge amount of money, which is beyond the government’s tax collecting capacity. Therefore, to close the gap concerted effort is called for. In reconstructing effort the role of science, innovation and technology is immense.

In the economic front, the diaspora can play a crucial role by investing their money and skills. As it is known Ethiopia is a populous country in Africa next to Nigeria. Out of 115 million people living in the country, 70 percent of them are on the right side of 30.This makes the nation a country composed of youths with excessive productive forces. These indicates that, how the nation is attractive for foreign and local investors. Particularly, the emerging manufacturing sector can absorb the semi- skilled labor force which is enormously found in the urban centers.

There are also vast untapped arable lands in the low land parts of the country which can be cultivated utilizing irrigation. Boosting agricultural products helps the nation’s aspiration to ensure food self -sufficiency.

The current trend resorting to receiving food aid to balance food shortage is disconcerting. Hence, to reverse the situation diaspora can invest in the sector. There are numerous diaspora members that specialized in agriculture serving as researchers in various prestigious universities across the globe. There by utilizing their scientific knowledge and innovation they can transform the sector to the modern level. The government also tries its level best to create enabling environment to the diaspora investors.



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