- A new programme initiated by the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) aims to lure the Ethiopian diaspora to assist those eager to share their knowledge and skills to contribute to the development of their country of origin.
This followed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between IOM and the Ethiopian Expatriates Affairs Directorate of the Foreign Affairs Ministy for the beginning of a four-year programme [Migration for Development in Ethiopia (MDEth)], designed to contribute to strengthen the government's institutional capacities for the mobilisation and utilisation of human, financial and other resources of the Ethiopian diaspora, with a particular focus on health, education and water and sanitation sectors.
The programme is also expected to enhance the institutional capacities of the private sector, NGOs, grass-root communities, and civil society and foster stronger private-public sector partnerships which will strengthen the confidence-building process between the Ethiopian Government and the diaspora, IOM officials said.
Thousands of African professionals, including medical doctors, nurses, accountants, engineers, managers, and teachers leave Africa each year for different reasons or purposes. While others leave to improve their living conditions, either by pursing studies or seeking better paid jobs, others flee due to insecurity or unstable political and socio-economic conditions.
The resulting brain drain heightens the dependency of African economies on costly foreign expertise in many areas thus creating a widening vicious circle.
MIDEth seeks to assist 200 Ethiopian diaspora professionals to share their skills through latest technology [tele-learning, tele-teaching and tele-medicine.], repeated visits, permanent relocation, investments for small and medium-scale community investments. They will assit in policy formulation, advocacy and transfer of medical equipment, facilities and literature.
"MIDEth is a four year programme with a total budget of US $4,487,700 million. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has provided IOM with half a million US dollars for the first year, but we need donors to come forward and pledge the remaining amount so that this programme can fully succeed," Charles Kwenin, IOM's Chief Mission in Addis Ababa, said.
"We are confident that there are hundreds, even thousands, of skilled Ethiopians living overseas who are eager to help their country."
MIDEth will benefit from IOM's long experience in the Return of Qualified African Nationals (RQAN),and is part of IOM's Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA) which helps to mobilize competencies acquired by African nationals abroad to benefit Africa's development and to assist in strengthening the institutional capacities of African governments to manage and realize their development goals.
An estimated 1.5 million Ethiopians are in the diaspora, the majority in the United States, Canada, Sweden, United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and the Gulf States.
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