- Health Care
The Government of Ethiopia (GoE) launched its official diaspora policy in 2013. One of the core components is to enhance knowledge and technology transfer from the diaspora. The GoE is implementing various interventions towards ensuring effective implementation of the policy and boosting the participation of Ethiopians in the development activities of Ethiopia. The government recently organized the 1st Ethiopian Diaspora Day celebration from 12 to 16 August 2015 in Addis Ababa, to which thousands of Ethiopian Diasporas were invited, with the objective to promote the recognition given to the Ethiopian diaspora and strengthen the relationship of the members of the diaspora with their home country.
Ethiopia was one of the target countries in the TRQN II project. In that phase 24 assignments took place in the following sectors: education, agriculture and civil society building. At that time there was still some reservations from the diaspora’s side. Also at that time, the government required very specific expertise (PhD level), which was not always available in the Netherlands.
Over 2.5 million Ethiopians live outside of their country, particularly in North America, Europe and the Middle East, Netherlands being one of the destination countries among others. According to the Dutch National Statistics Bureau, there are over 10,300 Ethiopians in the Netherlands. 17% of Ethiopian diaspora have a high level of education (master and bachelor degree), 50% Ethiopian have full time work (43% of whom have regular contracts), 23% are students and 6% are engaged in voluntary activities.
Sectors and Objectives
Education and Health are two priority sectors of the GoE, which have been significantly affected by brain drain. The Government has clearly stipulated not only in the diaspora policy but also in the 2nd Growth and Transformation plan (GTP); the country’s’ national development plan 2015 – 2020; that the education and health sectors are one of the core priority sectors that needs to be further capacitated during the upcoming five years development plan. Moreover the tertiary level of the education sector and the public structure of the health sector are highly affected by brain drain as a result of many Ethiopian professionals within these sectors going abroad looking for greener pastures and better education. As different studies indicate, there are significant numbers of Ethiopian knowledge diasporas with better skills and knowledge, which are believed to be able to contribute back to the development of their country of origin via knowledge and skill transfer which as a result will contribute to the development of these specific sectors. As indicated in the GTP, the limitation in the quality of service especially within the tertiary level (public universities) of the education sector and specialized public hospitals of the health sector should be the focus with regard to filling the existing gaps through transfer of knowledge and skill from the members of the diaspora. Moreover enhancing the capacity of the Ministry of Education and Health should also be a priority as these are the mandated and lead ministries to spearhead the development of the strategic institutions within their structure.
Accordingly, IOM intends to engage Ethiopian qualified diaspora for the development of the aforementioned key sectors in Ethiopia by focusing on strengthening the capacity of a limited number of strategic institutions in these two sectors so that at the end of the project a sustainable impact and positive change should be realized.
The Ethiopian Government is committed to establish a strong institutional arrangement for its diaspora. There is a Diaspora Engagement Affairs Directorate (with three divisions) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) solely dealing with issues of diaspora engagement. There are also 11 diaspora coordination offices at the 9 regional states and 2 administrative cities of Ethiopia. Moreover diaspora focal persons/desks are established in about 15 relevant federal offices/ministries, including the Ministries of Health and Education. There is also a MoFA-led consultative forum (consisting of all the relevant actors), which gathers every quarter to discuss the challenges and opportunities with regard to enhancing diaspora engagement. IOM Ethiopia also participates in this forum as a member. Moreover, there is a strong collaborative relationship between IOM and MoFA and also specifically with the directorate, which can ensure the smooth implementation of projects. IOM has been closely working with the GoE, but more specifically with MoFA, through supporting policy development, facilitating transfer of knowledge and skills, and providing capacity-building support to contribute to the government’s effort to enhance the role of the Ethiopian diaspora in the development of their country.
According to the above institutional arrangement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, relevant ministries – in particular the Ministry of Health and Education -as well as, relevant institutions such as public universities, and specialized public hospitals will be considered as major partners for the implementation of this project.