Ethiopia: Diasporas Education Investment – Key to Nations Success

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Ethiopian Diasporas in collaboration with the Ethiopian government, their country of destination, the private sector and local as well as international NGOs can make the wealth creation thing happen in a smooth manner.

By Yohannes Gebresellasie (The Ethiopian Herald)

Ethiopian Diasporas can participate in many areas and fields of development endeavors. Among the most important areas of development, the education sector one of the significant area. Ethiopian Diasporas can see education and training of Ethiopians back home as a unique, attractive and lucrative investment destination. Education and training is back bone to investment, progress and prosperity. Therefore, it is vital to both the Diaspora Ethiopians and their country of origin to look at the sector and provide more focus to the stream. If Ethiopia is to become a major agricultural, industrial and manufacturing nation which is competitive not only to its neighbors but also to countries at the international level, millions of its citizens need to be better educated and trained in line with an international standard.

The globalized market place requires an ever increasing number of knowledge workers. Therefore, Ethiopians must be trained in a manner of a “FIT FOR EXPORT “stamp international standard. Knowledge workers are truly their country’s best assets. India, Finland, the Philippines etc. are living testimonies to this fact. For example, India trains 29,000-30,000 doctors per year and export many of these to all parts of the world. Knowledgeable and trained worker is Ethiopia’s best asset. Therefore, Diaspora’s contribution and collaboration in the education and training field is not only important but also paramount. Ethiopian Diasporas can help create business entrepreneurs, ran professional training institutes for welders, steel benders, carpenters, joiners, masons and so on. Ethiopian Diasporas have done a lot on this regard so far even if other professional activities are still awaited to a great deal both at a regional and national level. The government has done commendable job in the education sector and as a result primary school enrollment that was 29 percent fourteen years ago is now over 90% in the nation. However, government, the private sector and especially Ethiopian Diasporas have to play a significant role in helping the nation to its effort to self reliance in all sectors.

The government must encourage the Diaspora Ethiopians to establish more international standard colleges, universities and even basic schools in this country. Also the government must act as a facilitator to encourage the establishment of more world standard educational and training institutions in Ethiopia. Furthermore, the government must encourage ragged competition and allow parents to choose the best schools for their children. This will foster competition and raise the quality of education being offered as well as the number of good educational and training institution in the market place. Ethiopian Diasporas must learn to form companies and joint ventures with natives as well as international investors to overcome their financial constraints and to maximize their profit. Ethiopian Diasporas must create and share the bigger ownership part which will in turn will give larger returns to them and their country of origin. It should be noted, however, that investors have to take a long view in order to create and build wealth.

Ethiopian Diasporas in collaboration with the Ethiopian government, their country of destination, the private sector and local as well as international NGOs can make the wealth creation thing happen in a smooth manner. There is a big opportunity for Ethiopian Diasporas in variety of sectors in Ethiopia. The sectors include education, health, tourism industry just to mention a few among others.

Taken from the point of the education sector, they can come as teachers, trainers and investors. And it is possible for them to see the whole gamut of education and training as a very lucrative investment destination. There is an ample and wide opportunity on the side of the private sector to take up the major share of responsibility to educate and train the youth at every sector in Ethiopia’s education system setting. The reward for Diaspora Ethiopians can be substantial in financial terms and also immeasurable in social and international terms. There are untapped investment opportunities in Ethiopia in which Diaspora Ethiopia can build their wealth and make success happen in the area. By doing so, Ethiopian Diasporas can bring rapid progress in communication technology with new opportunities for networking and enterprise; and perhaps above all, increasing numbers of Ethiopia in the Diaspora are reconnecting to their home land in imaginative new ways involving creative “peer to pear” development strategies. All these transformations are the prevailing changes in the ways Ethiopian Diasporas nurture the relationships of accountability embodying practices of obligation, respect, responsibility and mutuality that underpin their connection to each other.

Ethiopian Diasporas must combine their efforts to bring about a positive change in their country of origin. Thus, while they individually or through their community organizations still direct or send bulk of remittances to home land, they can channel it more collectively. There is of course rise in remittance flows over the last few years from African Diasporas, a good example is Ghana. The bank of Ghana estimates that remittance flows into the country stands over £864 million. And it is further estimated that remittance flows in to that country alone amounted to about £1 billion in 2004. Ethiopian Diasporas can take a good lesson from this fact. Ethiopian Diasporas often show their collaboration, dedication and commitment to help their country of origin together putting their political differences aside of various mega projects. The same way they enjoy and become very proud waving the Ethiopian national flag when nation’s great athletes win. Moreover, they are also very proud of contributing to poverty reduction and other development endeavors in their country of origin. One way of doing this is by focusing on the education sector. Why on education? The answer is simple and clear; education is the most important investment to the success of the nation. Diasporas can make a difference and can have a significant outcome in that regard.

Source: The Ethiopian Herald



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