IOM Presents Study Findings on Ethiopian Diaspora Mapping in the United States

Addis Ababa – The UN Migration Agency (IOM), in collaboration with the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and the Federal and Regional Diaspora Affairs Coordination Offices, presented the findings of a study on the mapping of Ethiopian Diasporas in the USA. During a two-day workshop (5-6 November) held in Addis Ababa, an assessment of skills or knowledge gaps and investment opportunities within Ethiopia was also presented.

The study of sample populations of the Ethiopian Diaspora based in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, District of Columbia (DC), indicated that the mobilized diaspora possesses substantial and diverse human capital, robust middle-class income levels and some limited available wealth for investment. The mobilized diaspora is also particularly interested in contribution to and investment in the education, healthcare and agriculture sectors, as well Ethiopia’s general infrastructure and business-enabling environment. Most Ethiopian diaspora members are motivated by a combination of emotional and financial investment concerns.

However, diaspora engagement is currently impeded by numerous perceived obstacles to investment, particularly issues related to government policy and practice; financial concerns; and some local human capital challenges. Despite these challenges, the study indicated that there is a significant level of engagement with Ethiopia through remittances, investments and charitable donations. In the past three years, over half (56%) of respondents have sent remittances annually to friends and/or family members in Ethiopia. On average, respondents sent USD 6,998 in remittances to Ethiopia annually over the past three years.

The Government of Ethiopia (GoE) has always been keen to engage the Ethiopian diaspora in developing the country and has requested IOM, a leading UN organization in the field of migration, to provide support by formulating and implementing diaspora mapping exercises.

The study’s primary objective was to assess knowledge and skills gaps in Ethiopia’s health and education systems, and also indicate investment opportunities for Ethiopian diaspora in these two sectors. The project covered selected teaching hospitals and universities located in four regional states – Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples – as well as one administrative city (Addis Ababa).

Fifty-six participants from the MoFA, IOM, the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund Advisory Council, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, relevant ministries and various Ethiopian diaspora associations attended the presentation of the study.

Following the diaspora mapping assessment, a roadmap for short-term and long-term knowledge and skill transfer programmes will be developed. Programme introduction and diaspora mobilization workshops have also been conducted with embassies, diaspora associations as well as professional and business networks to encourage diaspora members to take part in the process as well.

For more information, please contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie at IOM Addis Ababa, Tel: +251 911 63 90 82, Email: salemayehu@iom.int

Moonga Malambo from IOM Ethiopia’s Migration Management Unit giving opening remarks as the Diaspora Mapping Study is presented in Addis Ababa.