Press Release: Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund Advisory Council

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The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund Advisory Council (Council) is pleased to acknowledge the statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia on August 9, 2018 announcing the formation of the Council to promote, support and coordinate Ethiopian diaspora engagement in development efforts in Ethiopia.

On various occasions, Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed has challenged Diaspora Ethiopians to lend their financial support to critical, vital and unmet development needs in Ethiopia by donating USD$1. He has also publicly stated that the Trust Fund “money will not be part of the government budget. It will be administered through its own board.”

The response to Prime Minister Abiy’s challenge has been overwhelmingly positive throughout the Ethiopian Diaspora.

The members of the Council are committed to using their diverse expertise and talents to ensure a successful outcome for the Fund. This will not be accomplished by Prime Minister Abiy and the Advisory Council alone, but through our collective efforts and commitments to help our country. We hope to make an announcement of new Council members in the near future reflecting the collective commitment of diaspora Ethiopian communities.

As part of its essential tasks, the Council is developing a comprehensive and robust accountability and transparency structure for the Fund. The Council believes the Fund is most likely to be successful if contributors, beneficiaries and other stakeholders have a clear understanding of the Fund’s objectives and how it will be administered, managed, implemented and reported. One important element of accountability is the establishment of an independent board to oversee the Fund. The Council will adopt best practices to ensure a high level of accountability and transparency in the implementation of the Fund.

The Council is aware that contributors in the Ethiopian Diaspora have diverse views about how their contributions should be used to address development needs in our country. The Council aims to systematically seek and incorporate the diverse views of the Ethiopian Diaspora in identifying the range of development efforts to be supported by the Fund.

The Council is acutely aware of the great enthusiasm and commitment of Diaspora Ethiopians to make their contributions now. Many have asked why they simply cannot deposit their contributions into a bank account.

The Council wishes Ethiopian diaspora supporters of the Fund to be aware of the legal and regulatory compliance requirements in setting up the Fund.

We are working with multiple financial institutions across the globe to ensure maximize the highest rate of return for the contributions made by Diaspora Ethiopians to the Fund. We do this by making sure we follow all legal requirements for all countries, including Ethiopia, are met and the proper processes and controls are put in place for money transfers. The Council shall do its best to get all account setup completed as soon as possible. We appreciate the patience of the Ethiopian Diaspora as we endeavor to set up the Fund properly.

The Council must also meet requirements of U.S. federal and state laws which govern the operation of charitable organizations.It takes time to process applications and secure regulatory approval.

The Council is also working on a variety of other tasks, including governance structures and processes for the Fund.

We ask the Diaspora Ethiopian community to continue to bear with us and understand that we are giving our best efforts to get the Fund on line as soon as possible.

In the meantime, the Council respectfully asks Ethiopian Diaspora supporters of the Fund to hold their first month’s contributions in reserve until next month when we shall provide an update.

The Council shall provide regular updates on its work through press releases, a new official website to launch in the foreseeable future and other media channels.

The Council is aware of various individual and group efforts to independently create and manage a separate Diaspora Fund. The Council wishes Ethiopian Diaspora supporters of the Fund to know that it has no connection or associations with such independent efforts or undertakings. We hope such individuals and groups will collaborate with us once we announce the official launch of the Fund.

The Council operates on the principle that doing it right the first time is more prudent than rushing into doing something for the sake of expediency and going back and fixing it.

The Council wishes to thank all Ethiopian Diaspora supporters of the Fund for their extraordinary enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to the Fund. We pledge to do everything in our power to make sure the Fund is operational at the earliest possible opportunity.

Alemayehu G. Mariam, Chair of the Council
Contact: EDTF2018@gmail.com

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