Addis Ababa Diaspora Association

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Addis Ababa Diaspora Association

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Addis Ababa Diaspora Association

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The Impact of Ethiopian Diasporas in Addis Ababa

With about 109 million people, Ethiopia is the second-most populous nation in Africa after Nigeria and is the fastest growing economy in the region says the World Bank report.[1] Addis Ababa also known as Finfinnis the capital and largest city of Ethiopia.

  A Diaspora has a scattered population whose origin lies in a separate geographic location or it implies the spread of any people from their original homeland.[2] The exact size of the diasporas is unknown but it is estimated to be about three million Ethiopians are residing in different regions of the globe of which more than one million are found in the Middle East, more than 600 thousand in Africa, around half a million in North America and the rest in Europe, Australia and Asia.[3]  According to a report done by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in comparison to other Sub-Saharan Africa countries, Ethiopians are the second largest group in the United States and the fifteenth largest in Europe. [4]

Emigration from Ethiopia is a fairly recent phenomenon that largely began in the 1970s with the Ethiopian Revolution. On the other hand, in 2002 the Government of Ethiopia created the Ministry of Expatriate Affairs and the Diaspora Coordinating Office of the Ministry of Interior says research done by unu merit.[5]  Ethiopia is currently developing a comprehensive Diaspora Policy and has already implemented several pieces of legislation aimed at the Diaspora. This includes the Ethiopian ‘Yellow Card’, remittance sending protocols, investment incentives, a Diaspora bond, and foreign currency bank accounts directed at the Diaspora.[6]

             In recent years, many Diasporas are returning home to live and invest in their motherland followed by the reform that is undergoing in the country with the new Prime Minister Dr, Abiy Ahmed. These professional Diasporas are involved with various occupations like Aviation, media, art, health care, IT and hotel industry and are bringing a huge impact mainly in Addis Ababa. There are various businesses run by them which include, Abyssinia aviation school, Zinnia Aesthetic and anti-aging clinic, EBS, Modern cyber Intel consultancy, Orbit health. Etc. These professional Diasporas joined together for a common purpose and started an association called Addis Ababa Diaspora Association (AADA), which is established at the premise of bridging the gap between the Diasporas that live outside of the country to their country of birth, Ethiopia.  The benefit of having such an association is very significant to the country and to other members as well because there was a communication challenge between the Diasporas and other members of the country.  Although there are already existed associations like called Ethiopian Diaspora association and Ethiopian Diaspora agency. But there is also a need to gather business Diasporas found in Addis Ababa. Additionally, the focus of this paper is to assess the newly established association which is AADA.  The association is started with an objective to support and advocate for knowledge transfer, promoting investment and meaningful connection to the business community. AADA is unique because it is an association that is created by successful professionals from all walks of life and from different fields. Moreover, it is well organized, active and uses modern digital technology.

  And mainly it is created as a communication platform and to increase the participation and involvement of Diasporas in their national country.[7]

The mission of the association is to enhance the individual and collective involvement of the Diasporas community in investment, knowledge transfer and national engagement through the provision of pertinent information. Furthermore, its vision is concerned with strengthening the relationship of Diasporas who are found in different parts of the world and their engagement in their national country’s development.                                                                    

         These Diasporas are of different background and they are making an impact with various professions like music, IT, health care, Aviation.etc. Many of these professional Diasporas have started a business here and helping others by giving quality service and by equipping others as well. Moreover, they are dedicated to transforming the society for the betterment of life by sharing their knowledge, time and money sacrificially. As a result, they are bringing an impact on investment, remittance, and skill-sharing which overall increases the country’s development.

Currently, these Diasporas are bringing a significant change in Addis Ababa by bringing intellectual capacity and technology advancements together. In addition, they are also creating jobs and bringing foreign currency to the country. Similarly, they also work for the good cause of humanity through art like music. For example, we can mention the music of Zeleke Gessesse that says “Smile Ethiopia, lets live in harmony” which promotes the unity of the country.

These are some of the founding members of the AADA and participating in the planting of trees for the green legacy initiative launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.  Finally, AADA will be officially launched in the coming month of December 2019.  In conclusion, the establishment of this association is of high importance to Ethiopia and its Diaspora members. There is a saying that says” to whom much is given much is expected” so the country expects much from her citizens, especially the diasporas.


[1] www.worldbank.org

[2] Wikipedia

[3] Ethiopian Herald March 2017

[4] Mapping of the Ethiopian diasporas residing in the United States of America, International Organization for Migration (IOM)

[5]Understanding Ethiopian diaspora engagement policy By Katie Kuschminder and Melissa Siegel

[6] Understanding Ethiopian Diaspora engagement policy By Katie Kuschminder and Melissa Siegel

[7] www.aadiaspora.org


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