- Hana Alem
Ethiopian Diaspora Remits $1.4 Billion In Five Months
Ababa January 10, 2021 (FBC) – Over the past five months, Ethiopia has received 1.4 billion USD from remittance, Ethiopian Diaspora Agency revealed. According to the Agency, some 35 Diasporas have also taken investment licenses in the first half Ethiopian fiscal year.
Director General of the Agency, Selamawit Dawit told ENA that in the last five months Ethiopians working abroad have sent 1.4 billion USD through legal means. “We have done a lot of works in terms of promoting legal means and mobilizing legal means for the Diaspora to use it and to have the best possible performance on remittances, despite we are living in the time COVID-19 pandemic. Ethiopian Diasporas have sent 1.4 billion USD over the past five months so far,” she said.
This is in line with the Agency’s plan to bring four billion USD from the Diaspora this budget year, however, she said more works need to be done to achieve the targeted plan.
Noting that though the largest remittances were sent from North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, but recently money transfer from Ethiopians in the Middle East is growing, she noted. The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to dry up remittance flows, which are crucial source of hard currency for the country, affected diasporas working in various sectors, she stated.
However, the pandemic did not affect remittances as much as feared, she noted. The agency has given priority on activities that will enable the Diaspora to send the money home only through legal channels, she underlined. "There were COVID-19 problem last year. Ethiopian diaspora have sent about 3.7 billion USD remittances. This year we planned to increase that percentage to four billion USD. We know that huge amount of money is transferred from abroad in informal channels. This does not make the nation beneficial in getting hard currency. In that sense we are working to bring informal channels into formal ones,” she underscored.
She stressed that if the Diaspora uses formal channels to send money home, it can “benefit itself and the country.” In this regard, 2,637 Diasporas have opened bank accounts and deposited 3.5 million USD in the first six months of the current fiscal year, she stated. Similarly, 35 diasporas have taken investment licenses in the first six months of the stated period, it was indicated. According to the Ethiopian Diaspora Agency, last year some 3.7 billion USD remittances were sent by Ethiopian Diasporas.