Ethiopian Delegation's a successful meeting with the
Ethiopian community in Stockholm, Sweden

By Yohannes
May 08 2010

A successful meeting among the Ethiopian community was held in Stockholm, Sweden on May 2, 2010. A high level delegation headed by His Excellency Ato Nega Tsegaye, State Minister of foreign Affairs (MOFA), W/ro Mebrat Beyene, Director of the Ethiopian Diaspora General Directorate of the MOFA, Ato Msganu Arega, Director of Political Affairs of the MOFA, Ato Bruk Asmellash of the International Organization for Migration and W/ro Haimanot Amare of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia. The meeting was chaired by His Excellency Ato Dina Mufti, the Ambassador of Ethiopia to the Nordic countries. The meeting was held with high spirit and enthusiasm with mutual understandings and sympathetic views from the attendees.

Ato Nega dwelt elaborately on various historical scenarios of maladministration as the main causes of underdevelopment as well as the development efforts taken during the last 10 years. He further stated that by being inclusive and recognizing the rights of the nations and nationalities of Ethiopia, impressive progresses in many fields has been made. Figures of double digit growth, viz. 11.2% on average has been recorded during the years 2004-2009 and during 2010 a growth rate of 9.9% is predicted. He emphasized that this is not a sheer propaganda, but is a real fact verified by other international and independent organizations. The role of the Diaspora and investors in building up the country through development ventures was also highlighted, knowing the fact that these huge forces are potential partners in changing the image of the country and uprooting poverty and backwardness. Policies facilitating investments are now laid on firm basis both on regional and federal levels and therefore, a call was forwarded to all to use these opportunities and maintain their entrepreneurial/ businesses activities.

Ato Nega explained the electoral procedures and democratic institutions amended by the Ethiopian Parliament by endorsing structural experiences and policies from various countries including United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and India. The last three countries have federal systems of administration similar to the Ethiopian realism and therefore introducing these practices to Ethiopia is of great significance. There are now 13 standing committees, some of which are being chaired by the opposition parties. Party financing has also been introduced though not substantial amounts due to the meager resources and priority concerns of the country. The impending May 23, 2010 election was also covered, where different parties are vying for Parliamentary seats and the government is resolved to make the election process free and democratic. Code of Conduct has also been agreed upon by the parties so that rules of civilized election forms and patterns are followed. The Minister unequivocally affirmed that democracy is second to none and it is a question of survival for Ethiopia. It is only through the ballots that one can change governments and not through riots. Fair allocation of media coverage has been given to all parties, aiming at peaceful competition. Election observers from Ethiopian civic organizations (41,000), European Union and African Union are to monitor and witness both before and during the election. Memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed with the foreign observers so that stipulations leading to impartial and objective surveillance are fulfilled.

Furthermore, extensive capacity building and civil service reforms have been carried out in the country in order to strengthen good governance and the democratic institutions. Education in the form of understanding the citizensí rights and obligations have to be conducted continuously, where rampant suppression and backward culture were prevalent throughout the years and thereby secure democracy, peace, stability and development.

A number of questions were raised by the audience and the answers were given by respective members of the delegates. W/ro Mebrat also gave information regarding her office and the services they can bestow by extending advices and/or facilitating issues concerned with the Diaspora Ethiopians. She gave the numerous experiences the Diaspora has been confronted with by giving examples of successes or the pitfalls to be avoided. W/ro Haimanot gave the different systems of opening foreign currency accounts with different interest rates for the Diaspora and selling corporate bonds of Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation. Ato Bruk from IOM also informed about the possibilities of professional Ethiopians residing abroad to come and render their services in the education and health sectors at the universities and hospitals.

A wide range of issues got a good coverage and the meeting was closed by paying tribute in a one minute silence to those who fell recently victims to the terrorist acts in Tigray, Ethiopia and to all martyrs who paid sacrifices to bring democracy, peace and stability in Ethiopia.