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Ethiopia�s Diaspora Contribution to Ethiopia�s Development

IDEA Editorial                                              January 18, 2013

Ghelawdewos Araia

The present generation of Ethiopia is challenged by a calling from the motherland, not to cash-in but to pitch-in for the development of the country, and as Frantz Fanon once aptly put it, �each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it.�

Fanon�s dictum is crucially relevant to the Ethiopian situation, because Ethiopians have an historical obligation to discover their mission and fulfill it, and their mission, in a nutshell, should be to uplift Ethiopia by contributing ideas, expertise, and money etc. This mission of Diaspora Ethiopians, of course, must transcend politics and ideological differences, if indeed the motto is Ethiopia first!

Ethiopian Diaspora mission and commitment to contribute for Ethiopia�s development, however, would not be realized unless the Government of Ethiopia cooperates by open arms and by embracing the Diaspora initiative. On the onset, it should be acknowledged that only a two-way traffic for the genuine transformation of Ethiopia could be palpable and palatable to enthusiastic Ethiopians. In brief, Diaspora Ethiopians and the Government of Ethiopia must meet half way on the two-way traffic and both must agree to iron out differences and reconcile for the sake of national development, a theme that I have reiterated and underscored time and again in my previous essays.

Once national reconciliation is agreed upon and a pact is assigned for the development of Ethiopia, the two-way traffic would engage tributary feeder roads, in which Ethiopians would converge to participate in a serious development agenda. This hypothetical scenario of Ethiopian reconciliation for development would, in turn, pave a way for a brighter future by gradually eliminating the �relative obscurity� in Ethiopian politics.

We must also understand that Diaspora Ethiopian is highly diverse in terms of interest, ideological bent, and political commitment. Some are adamant and arrogant; others are flexible and yet principled; and some, to whom this calling is more relevant and appealing, are patriotic and irrespective of the nature of politics in Ethiopia, they would still opt for Ethiopia�s development. However, even the latter is diverse in terms of their outlook but they are unified on the strategic interest of Ethiopia and the welfare of the Ethiopian people.

With respect to the development of Ethiopia, we may entertain a broad range of themes, or a broad overview for a concerted action, or furthermore we can come up with conflicting explanatory framework. This is healthy and acceptable to me, but we have done this, almost to the point of meaninglessness, in the last three decades. It is time to practically engage and contribute our inputs for the development of our country.

Above all, Diaspora Ethiopians must understand that they could make a huge difference, not by atavistic throwback but by transcending politics and embracing Ethiopia�s development agenda as their primary goal and activity. It should also be understood that there could be a less inviting, less motivating, and even an atmosphere less conducive vis-�-vis Ethiopians� endeavor in extending their hands unto Ethiopia, but Ethiopians should not give up easily. On the contrary, they should be dogged and relentless, and if necessary, stubbornly tenacious, with respect to the development of Ethiopia.

This has been a calling for Diaspora Ethiopians to stand united and fulfill their mission, but it is also a challenge to the Ethiopian Government. What would be the Ethiopian Government response to the commitment and readiness of Diaspora Ethiopians in rewriting the history of Ethiopia by contributing to development despite existing reservations and sensibilities?

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