A Call for Worldwide Remittance Embargo

 

Worldwide Ethiopian Joint Task Force

December 29, 2017

To all Ethiopians who are concerned about the dire fate of our country and eager in shortening the suffering of our people under the brutal Woyane regime.

Credible evidences coming from various sources indicate that the TPLF-led regime is immersed in a major political, economic, and security crises. It has come to light that, by all indicators and measures, the regime is in big economic collapse.

A recently leaked document authored by the so-called National Security Council confirms the regime’s anxiety about the economic crisis it has faced in recent months.  This document admits that:

  • Foreign aid has been reduced due to the regime’s worst human rights record;
  • Tourism has shrunk due to the instability throughout the country;
  • Wealthy people and foreign investors have started migrating their money out of the country; and

The regime is therefore convinced that these and other factors are contributing to the general economic crisis.

Meanwhile, in his report to TPLF parliament early November 2017, the Governor of the National Bank highlighted the serious shortage of foreign currency and warned that unless this shortage is resolved in a short period of time, it will aggravate the economic crisis.

Currently, the foreign currency shortage has reached to a level where even regime-run organizations including those which are used for surveillance and repressive purposes, such as Ethiotelecom, are defaulting on their foreign financial obligations. Further, these organizations reported that their inability to import equipment and hardware due to lack of foreign currencies has hampered their operations. As the foreign currency reserve of the country plummeted from $3 billion to $700 million, importers revealed to domestic media that they should wait for more than a year before they receive a Letter of Credit for their imports and even then, they only get a fraction of what they ask for.

As other sources of foreign currency dry up, the regime is placing its hope on the remittance of Diaspora Ethiopians to pick up the slack. The regime has publicly stated that the magnitude of the remittance from Ethiopians living and/or working abroad reaches over $4 billion per year.

There are a few fundamental facts that each Ethiopian needs to keep in mind when discussing the issue of foreign currency in relation to Ethiopia:

  1. The wealth and economy of the country including the foreign trade sectors are vastly controlled by TPLF-owned and affiliated entities such as Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT); Tigray Development Association (TDA), and Relief Society of Tigray (REST);
  2. Those who benefit or hurt by the availability or shortage of foreign currency are mostly the above mentioned TPLF organizations and numerous companies owned by them;
  • The economic/financial crunch the regime is facing currently will undermine the material, technological and economic capability of its security and police forces that are used to suppress, maim and kill Ethiopians;
  1. Crippling the regime’s economic backbone is a necessary form of struggle to shorten its political lifespan, and depriving the regime access to foreign currencies plays a critical role in this respect.

As every Ethiopian would note, at this moment our people are paying huge sacrifices to regain their freedom and ownership of their beloved country. The popular uprising of the past two years has dragged the regime into a huge crisis despite the fact that it is costing our people very dearly. The political and economic crises the regime is facing right now are in one way or another the fruits of the tenacious popular struggle. However, to ensure that this ever-growing popular struggle becomes victorious, it requires everyone’s action and involvement.  In this regard, we must recognize that Diaspora Ethiopians have a unique opportunity and capacity to undermine the regime’s economic and political power.

At this point, the money we Ethiopians in the Diaspora remit to our relatives back home is the only source of foreign currency for the regime.  Depriving the regime access to this hard currency is a power we have in our hands that we can and must use to exacerbate the regime’s economic crisis and constrain its ability to stifle and repress our people. It must be remembered that we have the responsibility and the ability to weaken the economic muscle of the regime, to shorten the suffering of our people, and ensure that their dear sacrifices are leading to victory.

The Worldwide Ethiopian Joint Task Force is therefore calling upon fellow Ethiopians in the Diaspora to stop remitting money through money transfer channels that allow the regime to acquire the hard currency.

Respectfully and on behalf of the people of Ethiopia, the Task Force calls up on everyone who wants to see an end to the suffering of our people to implement the following strategies and actions:

  1. Stop sending foreign currencies through the formal channels such as Western Union and Money Gram. The following alternative ways are suggested to send money that are deemed to minimize the chance of the regime accessing the hard currency:
    • Ethiopian-owned convenience stores and individuals in your community who are providing money transfer services; ensure they are not regime-affiliated.
    • Individuals in your community who have relatives in Ethiopia that are keen on exchanging Ethiopian birr for hard currency, often at a much better exchange rate than what the banks in Ethiopia offer. These folks often use the hard currency to import goods and services directly for their domestic businesses.
    • Send money through friends and acquaintances travelling to Ethiopia. This allows your relatives to exchange the hard currency in the black market at a higher rate than what the banks offer.
    • Send goods such as laptops and cell phones instead of money; your relatives will sell them for a much better value than they will gain by exchanging the dollar to birr in the bank.
  2. If the formal money transfer channels such as Western Union and Money Gram are your only option and you must send money to Ethiopia, depending on the financial needs of your relatives, the Task Force encourages you to consider reducing the amount and/or the frequency of your remittance by up to 30 percent.
  3. If your relatives in Ethiopia are financially well-off and your remittance has a relatively minimal impact on their economic well-being, the Task Force encourages you to consider stopping sending money altogether for at least a limited time as a show of support to the life-and-death struggle of our people.
  4. As the leaked National Security Council document admitted and the reality on the ground attests, the two-year long political and economic uncertainty is forcing wealthy Ethiopians (most of whom are regime-affiliated) to migrate and money-launder their wealth abroad. Considering this and the desperate need of the regime for hard currency, transferring money to Ethiopia now for commercial or investment ventures will do more harm than good to Ethiopia and Ethiopians. The Task Force therefore calls up on Diaspora Ethiopians who plan to invest in Ethiopia to cancel, delay, or limit their plans or activities for the time being. Doing so will not only support the popular struggle; it will also safeguard your hard-earned money given the uncertain economic and political climate in the country.

 

The people of Ethiopia will be victorious!

Long Live Ethiopia in glory!

 

Worldwide Ethiopian Joint Task Force

 

Cc: All Ethiopian-owned and administered media institutions, local radios, websites and social media outlets

 

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