By the standards of remittances of Asian, Latin American and even some African countries, Ethiopia’s earning from remittance is not that big. For example, with about same population size, Philippines makes over $30 billion dollar a year according to recent data from world bank. Mexico from Latin America and Nigeria from Africa do have high earnings from remittance.
However, if Ethiopia’s earning from remittance is measured based on its own history, undoubtedly remittance demonstrated a remarkable increase.
According to report by Sudan Tribune, Diaspora Engagement in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that Ethiopia earned about $4 billion in remittance in less that a year, 10 months to be exact. Clearly, no government before the current government did have such a huge, and growing , income stream.
Apparently, Ethiopia’s earning from remittance is dwarfing earning from export. With its negative trade balance, Ethiopia ‘s quarterly earning from export is much less than $1 billion. Ethiopia’s export items including gold and coffee are not bringing earnings as much as remittance from diaspora. In fact the ministry seem to predict that remittance could hike by about 50 % over the next three or so years.
Political analysis behind growth in remittance in Ethiopia under the ruling government certainly leads to push factors that have a lot to do with the ruling party. Number of people leaving their country has been increasing at alarming rate to the extent that majority, by moderate estimates of keen observers, of young people in Ethiopia do not want to live in their country. It is partly related to political repression and partly related to economic repression.
Government is criticized for using job opportunity in the public sector and other areas as additional tools for political repression. It takes political loyalty and blind support for government, and it is tyrannical one that even former military leaders who worked for it are criticizing, to get jobs in the public sector and in the huge business empire in the country that the ruling party is operating.
On the other hand, to say that Ethiopia gets huge earning from remittance may mean that the Ethiopian Diaspora community has a huge potential leverage to stop human rights violations and promote change including change in government- which has been there for over twenty five years now. It does seem the case that there is no coordinated effort to make use of this tool in the interest of change in Ethiopia.