Ethiopian activists launching remittance embargo campaign on social media

Remittance embargo cyber campaign targets to mobilize Ethiopians living in North America, Europe, Australia, Middle East, among others, not “to feed the beast”

borkena, February 7, 2018 — Ethiopian activists living abroad are launching another remittance embargo campaign starting tomorrow. Based on information that the Organizers released on social media, the campaign will kick off on Wednesday 7,2018 around 10:00 a.m EST time or around 15:00 London time.

The cyber campaign will be mainly on two social media platforms; Twitter and Facebook.

#StarveTheTPLFBeast is the hashtag that is prepared for the campaign and will be used along Amharic translation ( #ጉጅሌህወሓትንአንቀልበው), which uses the ancient Ethiopic script, and Oromigna translation (#BulguuHinHoratin), Ethiopia’s second widely spoken language (Oromigna uses Latin alphabets after TPLF took control of power in the country in 1991).

The campaign aims to support the struggle of Ethiopians against the ruling party by way of mobilizing Ethiopians abroad to avoid sending money to Ethiopia through formal money transfer channels. And the goal is to deny government foreign currency. It is not known as to when the campaign is ending.

Widespread demand for fundamental political change caused recurring protest across the country and the regime in power regularly resorts to the excessive use of military forces, usually deploying loyal agazi forces.

A fortnight ago, just to mention the latest string of massacre, the regime deployed its agazi forces in Woldia where they opened fire on residents who were celebrating a religious festival. several were killed and wounded. The killing caused other protests in two nearby towns, Kobo and Mersa but the government but government killed civilians in those towns as well.

The instability in Ethiopia, due to the ongoing political crisis, is having an adverse effect on the economy. The tourism sector which used to be a significant foreign currency source is weakened after major tourist source countries issued travel advisories. The foreign currency reserve for the country is said to be much less than $800 million.

If the campaign to mobilize Ethiopian’s turns out to be a success, it could further cripple the financial standing of the regime in Ethiopia.

According to International Organization for Migration (IOM) report in August 2017, remittance to Ethiopia reached $4 billion in the year 2015/2016 which represents well over 5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).However, about 78 % of the remittance reach the country via informal money transfer channels. According to Leon Isaacs, who is cited in the report as an international remittance expert, transferring money through informal channels leads to loss of foreign exchange for the government, among other negative impacts of it.

Filed in: Current Affairs / News