Ghana and Ethiopia have been chosen as target countries of ED4D for several reasons:
- stable economic environment;
- substantial presence of Ethiopian and Ghanaian diaspora in the Netherlands;
- involvement of IOM offices in Ethiopia and Ghana in diaspora engagement;
- PUM’s presence in both countries;
- the interest of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in both countries;
- will of the Ghanaian and Ethiopian governments to promote the participation of the diaspora in national development.
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. There are 16,347 Ethiopians in the Netherlands according to the Dutch Central Statistics Agency (2016 figures).
The Government of Ethiopia (GoE) launched its official diaspora policy in 2013. One of the core components is to promote diaspora engagement in investment: “Any member of Ethiopian Diaspora residing abroad will promoted to participate directly or through collaborations with domestic investors on pertinent areas of investment appropriately identified.”
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.
Ethiopia recently (fall 2018) launched a Diaspora Agency to engage Ethiopians and foreigners of Ethiopian origin in a meaningful participation in the development of their country.
These are the characteristics of the Agency:
- under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- own budgetary and human resources
- headquarters in Addis Ababa
- branch offices across Ethiopia
- representatives in Ethiopian embassies
There are an estimated three million Ghanaians living in the diaspora. There are 23,168 Ghanaians in the Netherlands according to the Dutch Central Statistics Agency (2016 figures).
The potential of the diaspora has been explicitly mentioned in the President’s Coordinated Programme of economic and social development policies for 2017-2024: “To strengthen Ghana’s role in international affairs, policy interventions will aim at: … creating a favourable business environment; and integrating the Ghanaian diaspora into national development.”
In 2014 the Ghanaian government launched the Diaspora Unit within Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. This was a landmark achievement on the part of the Government of Ghana, which then had formalized the engagement of the Ghanaian diaspora for effective migration management and national development planning. Furthermore, a Diaspora Affairs Office has been created under the Office of the President.
2019 will be ‘The Year of Return’, for Africans living in diaspora with several events being organized to mark the 400 year anniversary of the first enslaved Africans reaching the shores of America.