Diaspora’s Touch on GERD

“IT’S OUR DAM” Special Edition @abn-team

Established in March 2019, the Ethiopian Diaspora Agency mainly aims at facilitating and coordinating the participation of Ethiopian diaspora in the country’s overall social, economic, cultural and political activities. To that effect, the agency focuses on four major areas: Diaspora Community Development, Diaspora Engagement, Diaspora Information, Research and Communication as well as Rights and Legal Protection of the Diaspora.

Under the Diaspora Community Development Directorate community-based interventions of the diaspora to ensure Ethiopia’s development considering the state of the country in which the diaspora resides is dealt.

The Diaspora Engagement Directorate on its part facilitates the participation of the diaspora in trade, investment and tourism sectors by providing a single window service. It also promotes knowledge and technology transfer of the diaspora; remittance flow, banking sector investment and other diaspora engagement activities.

As the agency has the responsibility of collecting, analyzing and distributing information regarding the diaspora community and its current situation, Information, Research and Communication Affairs Directorates strive to achieve those goals. In addition providing diaspora information, providing policy guidance for the government and other concerned stakeholders are priority tasks that the agency gives special attention to.

Selamawit Dawit
Director General, Ethiopian Diaspora Agency

Considering Ethiopians living abroad have the rights to access services from the government, the issue of protecting rights and benefits of the diaspora is one of the main reasons why the agency has been established. Rights and Legal Protection Affairs Directorate is mandated to handle such issues.

The Ethiopian diaspora includes all Ethiopians and Ethiopian origins who have left their country due to political, economic or social issues and are living in different parts of the world. The agency not only follows practices and principles that help the diaspora take interest in national issues, it also creates ways that will enable them to fulfill their part as a citizen.

“More significantly, different Ethiopian scholars have been making appearances on various global media networks operating mainly in Arabic, French and English languages, revealing the truth on GERD.”

The diaspora community is not trailing on a shifting image of its position and status but rather a viable good representation that is based on citizenship and Ethiopian nationality. The agency works to promote excellent interaction between the diaspora and home following the notion that every diaspora counts irrespective of the country they live in and the profile they have. As a result, the diasporas’ participation on major issues of national concern are improving from time to time.

Coming to the nation’s mega project-the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam /GERD/, the Ethiopian diaspora, like any Ethiopian citizen at home, have made significant contribution to the construction of the Dam in terms of financial support and expertise. So far they have bought a total of 42 million USD bonds, donated finance and shared professional experiences.

It’s really very heart-touching to see an Ethiopian maid in the Middle East buying bonds from her meager monthly wage, hoping and dreaming to see the fruits of the project coming back home. In the last eight months alone (July 2019- February 2020) a total of 700,000 USD has been collected from bond sale in the diaspora.

The Ethiopian Diaspora Agency /EDA/ working in collaboration with 38 Ethiopian missions worldwide where significant number of Ethiopians are living, coordinates and facilitates support for GERD.While providing support to the diaspora coming home, EDA works closely with these missions to bring about common understanding on national agenda.

As a result of the collaborative effort between the agency and Ethiopian missions around the world, different Ethiopian scholars have been making appearances on various global media networks operating mainly in Arabic, French and English languages, revealing Ethiopia’s  rights over the use of its waters, Egyptians unproductive narratives and defamation against Ethiopia. They have tried their best to help the international community gain insight into the objective reality on the construction of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Ethiopia’s position on negotiations with downstream countries.

Now these Ethiopian think-tanks have begun to organize themselves at continental levels and are carrying out different activities that are unveiling hidden truths and untold stories of Ethiopia as well as shaping false propaganda disseminated by Egypt regarding the Blue Nile in general and the GERD in particular.

“What is being done by Egypt is an attempt to forbid someone to eat the fruit grown on one’s land”

Currently a plan has been set to launch a site visit to GERD for high-profile intellectuals so that they could gain insight into the construction process and work further to strengthening the diplomatic effort. The ultimate objective of this scholar-centered global campaign is, of course, to address the current misunderstandings between Ethiopia and the downstream countries, disclosing the fact that GERD is not a project that causes significant harm on those nations.

The Agency, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of Public Coordination and Participation for the Construction of GERD, has also planned to make use of international media outlets and convey key messages regarding Ethiopia’s position on the Renaissance Dam

It is like a battle field, if not more than that, to provide financial support to GERD and stand at international forums to voice Ethiopia’s national interest.The Ethiopian diaspora, in this regard, is standing by the nation’s sovereignty, pride and respect of its natural right.

The Ethiopian diaspora is always ready to support Ethiopia in all aspects whenever their support is needed. For example, very recently, they have donated over 250 million birr in support of the fight against Corona Virus (KOVID-19) pandemic in the country.

GERD is mine; it’s the Dam of Ethiopian mothers and fathers. It’s Ethiopia’s hope. The Dam is a mirror displaying Ethiopia’s future, hope for solving various societal challenges across the nation. It should be completed by any means as it’s a matter of survival, moral, pride and sovereignty. What is being done by Egypt is an attempt to forbid someone to eat the fruit grown in one’s land. That is absolutely impossible!

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