Tuesday, December 13, 2011

First diaspora conference in Kenya to woo investors
By NATION CORRESPONDENT
Posted Monday, December 12 2011 at 19:56


The Kenyan government is stepping up its efforts to woo Kenyans living abroad to invest in the country by hosting the first ever Diaspora Homecoming conference.

“The new Constitution has for the first time recognised the diaspora through dual citizenship and we want to bring them on for nation building,” said Diaspora Affairs Advisor at the Prime Minister’s office, Mr John Maina.

Remittances from the three million Kenyans living abroad account for billions of shillings in annually, rivalling the nation’s biggest earners— tea, horticulture and tourism.

Last year, doaspora remittances totalled Sh51.6 billion. Despite the immense potential for development that these funds pose, a poor policy environment is making it hard for Kenyans abroad to send money home for investments.

“We have never had a structure before to address diaspora investments. That is one of the things we want to explore at the conference,” said Mr Maina.

He added that a blueprint for an amicable policy environment had already been created but that the government needed the input of stakeholders to develop it further.

The role of the diaspora in development has been emphasised in the last one year with the ministry of foreign affairs adopting diaspora diplomacy as one of its key pillars.

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