Ethiopia has enacted a law that will give special rights to Jews of Ethiopian origin and Rastafarians that are normally reserved to Ethiopian citizens.
Speaking to Xinhua on Thursday, Meles Alem, Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) spokesperson, says the new law will give opportunities for the two communities that are normally reserved to Ethiopian citizens.
“Investment opportunities, the right to buy and sell houses and the right to transfer assets to siblings are some of rights the two communities will have that generally is only reserved to Ethiopian citizens,” says Alem.
He, however, says the new law excludes Jews of Ethiopian origin and Rastafarians from voting rights, employment in security related institutions and MoFA.
The two communities will also be given an Ethiopian national Identification Card that would allow entering Ethiopia without entrance visas and residence permits.
The Ethiopian government believes there are about 150,000 Jews of Ethiopian Origin living abroad mainly in the Jewish state of Israel.
The Ethiopian government is keen to tap into this large Ethiopian origin Jewish Diaspora, who in recent years has made inroads in Israel in diplomacy, military and cultural scene.
Rastafarianism is a religious movement that started in the 1930s in the black population of Caribbean islands that teaches the eventual redemption of blacks in their return in Africa and venerates Ethiopia’s last Emperor Haileselassie I as god.
Several Hundred Rastafarians from across the world reside in Ethiopia although strict residency and employment laws for expatriates in Ethiopia have meant their contribution to the Ethiopian economy has so far been marginal.
There are thought to be tens of thousands of followers of Rastafarianism mainly living in the Americas, Africa and Europe. Enditem