Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said the main role of the envoys will henceforth be to market Kenya and ensure the country’s business profile improves globally on top of other diplomatic duties.
Speaking on Monday evening when he met Kenyans living in Italy at Westin Excelsior Hotel in Rome, the DP said the government’s representatives abroad will be properly briefed to realign their objectives so they focus mostly on marketing the nation’s leading produce.
“All these ambassadors are going to market Kenyan products and hold frequent discussions with the host country on how to get the best deals for our products,” said Mr Gachagua.
He said the Kenya Kwanza administration was reviewing the roles of the envoys so that 70 percent of their work will be promoting tea, coffee, and horticultural products among others.
“We want to move away from the traditional diplomacy of attending meetings, cocktails, barbecues and such. Seventy percent of their work will be to pursue the commercial interests of our country, to market our agricultural produce, to make sure our exporters get the best deals,” he added.
The DP said the ambassadors will be expected to submit monthly reports showing who they have met to market Kenyan products and what deals they had entered into.
“We will soon meet with all our ambassadors, high commissioners and their deputies and they will sign a two-year Memorandum of Understanding committing to these targets,” he said.
The Deputy President also challenged the Kenyans in Italy to work closely with the State Department for Diaspora Affairs he said has been specifically formed to handle their issues.
“The diaspora is critical in our economic development. The remittances from abroad to Kenya is now our number one source of foreign exchange earner ahead of tourism, coffee and tea. That’s why we want to engage the diaspora further,” he said.
His spouse, Pastor Dorcas Rigathi, accompanied him to the meeting.
Mr Gachagua said the government is looking into how to safeguard their investments in Kenya in a bid to encourage more remittances.
“We are looking at how the government can guarantee their investments back home. Many of them have been conned and swindled of their hard-earned money but we want to create a Diaspora Fund guaranteed by the government so that as they come home their savings are intact,” he stated.
Present was Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu, Diaspora Affairs Principal Secretary Roseline Njogu, her Treasury counterpart Chris Kiptoo and Kenyan ambassador to Italy Jackline Yonga.