Video credit EBC
In 2013, total remittance from Ethiopians in the Diaspora was only $2 billion US. The amount reached over 4 $billion last year. In the same year, Ethiopia got only $2.9 billion dollars in export earning. The remittance amount also surpasses the amount that Ethiopia got from donor countries in the form of development aid, according to Demeke Atnafu, director general in the diaspora coordination office of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Contribution of Ethiopian diaspora in terms of boosting foreign currency exchange potential of Ethiopia is huge, added Demeke Atnafu. In fact, the amount seem to be even growing.
More than three million Ethiopians live in the diaspora, according to ministry of foreign affairs. In addition to remittance, Ethiopians in the diaspora are the main clients to Ethiopian Airlines. Although no research is conducted so far, there are speculations that Ethiopians constitute well over 50% of Ethiopian Airlines passengers to and from Ethiopia.
Despite all that government has been inculcating a negative attitude towards Ethiopians in the diaspora. Reason? Ethiopians living in the diaspora exploited freedom of expression in their respective host countries to clamor for democratic change and against widespread human rights violations in Ethiopia. Reputable human rights organizations have identified the regime in Ethiopia as one of the worst human rights abuser.
In the last eleven or so months alone, more than one thousand Ethiopians are killed, hundreds wounded and thousands were detained in concentration camps where they were physically and psychologically tortured before the government tried to indoctrinate them.
Despite western backed rhetoric and narrative about double digit growth, and its alleged win of 100 parliamentary seat, the regime is extremely unpopular. In fact, the political developments that unfolded in Ethiopia in the last one year suggest that the regime is no longer in a position to rule the country without excessive repression as it has no more legitimacy what so ever.
To say that Ethiopians in the diaspora have significant contribution to foreign currency exchange reserve suggests that the financial power, if coordinated effectively, has a potential to be used as a tool to leverage desirable policy changes along the lines of democracy, including changing the brutal and corrupt Tigraian minority regime.
It is hard to ignore the amount that Ethiopia is loosing in the form of corruption to the men in power and their affiliates. A study by Transparency International revealed that, a few years ago, more than $11 billion left Ethiopia over the last decade. Ethiopians implicate the ruling Tigray People Liberation Front authorities and their relatives in connection with unprecedented corruption that is bleeding the country badly.
Written by Dimetros Birku. Can be reached on twitter : @dimetros