December 3, 2015 By Abdul Karim Koroma in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The Director of Citizens and Diaspora Directorate of the African Union Commission, Dr. Jinmi Adisa last Wednesday met with the Director of Diaspora Affairs in the Office of the President, Mr. Kallay Musa Conteh, at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Mr. Conteh told his AU counterpart that his office was established in 2008 by President Ernest Bai Koroma to provide Diaspora network support for Sierra Leoneans living abroad.
“I am here to seek first hand information on the African Union policy framework on Diaspora issues and to further share best practices on how to promote Sierra Leone’s Diaspora involvement in the socio-economic development of the country,” Conteh said.
The Director of Diaspora Affairs revealed there are an estimated one million Sierra Leoneans living overseas, mainly in the United Kingdom and United States of America, with vast capacities in various fields.
The Director of Citizens and Diaspora Directorate at the African Union Commission, Dr. Jinmi Adisa said his office had helped the Malawian and Liberian governments to set up their Diaspora offices recently.
Dr. Adisa noted that the Commission is working on five legacy projects and that they want Africans living in the Diaspora to contribute meaningfully towards the continent’s transformation agenda.
He informed his counterpart from Sierra Leone that his department would be organising a workshop next year relating to the empowerment of Diaspora institutions in Member States.
In another engagement, Mr. Conteh held a meeting at the Ethiopian Central Bank with the bank’s Senior Advisor on Monetary Stability Cluster, Mr. Elaias Loha, and the Director of Foreign Exchange Monitoring and Reserve, Madam Yenehasab Tadesse.
The issues discussed were mainly centred on how Sierra Leone can emulate the Ethiopian foreign remittance system, banking and investment opportunities available for those living in the Diaspora.
Meanwhile, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia have agreed to collaborate on Diaspora issues following Mr. Conteh’s meeting with Dr. Alebachew Beyene, President of the Ethiopian Diaspora Association last week.
“In Sierra Leone, we don’t have a Diaspora association but on my return, I will encourage our brothers and sisters to set up a similar association,” pledged Mr. Conteh.
On his part, Dr. Beyene said his organisation has over three million members, and that they invest in the Ethiopian economy.