“Ethiopia is definitely going to grow at a faster rate economically, thanks to the government’s decision to open its doors to foreign investors and the Ethiopian diaspora,” said Mr Duale on Monday.
Hundreds of investors from Africa and the rest of the world have always wanted an opportunity to work and invest in Ethiopia.
This move opens doors for new entrepreneurs, investors and experts in different fields to move in to bring new ideas which will be beneficial for the growth of the country,” he added.
Remittances, which is Dahabshiil’s key business, is an important source of foreign exchange for Ethiopia, perhaps larger than the export earnings of the country in its foreign exchange generation capacity.
Over the last five years, the volume of remittances to Ethiopia has risen to between 2 to 6 billion USD per year. This is approximately the size of Ethiopia’s total export and development aid combined.
Dahabshiil works with Ethiopian banks to deliver remittances to the Ethiopian community from one corner of the country to the other.
Last year, Maureen Achieng’, Chief of Mission of the IOM Special Liaison Mission to Ethiopia and Representative to the African Union, UN-ECA and Intergovernmental Authority on Development, said both the receiving community and the Ethiopian government could benefit better from remittances.
“If some of the persisting barriers are mitigated, such as high transaction costs, this could reduce the large percentage of informal remittance inflows, estimated at nearly 78 per cent for Ethiopia.”
According to financial experts, another serious problem that drives remittances and affects Ethiopia’s ability to attract more foreign currency is the serious limitations faced by remittance companies that use Ethiopian banks.
Their customers cannot withdraw their remittances from the bank of their choice because Ethiopian banks do not transfer foreign currency, such as US dollars, between themselves.
The remittance companies can only withdraw funds from these banks in local currency and cannot get their foreign currencies back.
Mr Duale is optimistic the new government, which is bent towards spurring economic growth, will act on this to encourage the more than three million Ethiopians in the diaspora to send more money through formal channels to help boost the economy