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Mudavadi: Kenyan diaspora financial, intellectual resources should be harnessed

Prime Cabinet Secretary, Musalia Mudavadi has said the Kenyan diaspora wield significant financial and intellectual resources that should be harnessed to support the country’s socio-economic development.

Mudavadi, who is also the Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Cabinet Secretary, said that mainstreaming diaspora resources and business networks is a key priority under the Government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).

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He said the Government will engage the diaspora in a more constructive and productive manner to unlock and unleash their full potential.

“Putting our minds together to agree on how to harness their full potential is a testimony of the importance of this community in the broader narrative of Kenya’s development,” said Mudavadi during the diaspora investment conference held at Kenya International Convention Centre (KICC).

According to Mudavadi, Kenyans in the diaspora send home over $300 million monthly to support their investments and their families, which he described as fairly stable, despite challenges the global economy has experienced in recent years.

He said these remittances constitute a major source of foreign exchange, equivalent to 3 percent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and are an important source of financing of the country’s current account deficit, support the balance of payments and enhance the stability of the Kenya Shilling.

Similarly, he said the Government is making a conscious effort to relate diaspora policies to diaspora rights by providing incentives such as dual citizenship, consular support, voting rights, property rights, transferability of social benefits, reduced transactional costs and simplification of bureaucratic processes.

Mudavadi said the diaspora investment conference offers a platform to look at diaspora-friendly investment that Kenyans abroad can leverage on to a build sustainable future and serves as a critical platform for networking, offering an opportunity to forge partnerships that extend beyond borders.

He said that it also enables them to explore avenues for financial support to foster collaborations with leading financial institutions that can be instrumental in propelling the collective vision forward.

Over the last twelve) months, Mudavadi said the Ministry has made great strides in discharging various aspects of its mandate, key among them promotion of continuous dialogue through physical and virtual engagement meetings with various stakeholders abroad.

“Since my appointment as the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, I have had the pleasure of interacting with the Kenyan Diaspora in their own space. I have shared our vision and commitment as Government to create a conducive environment for their constructive engagement in our economic and social transformation,” he said.

To deepen the contribution of the Kenyan Diaspora, he said his Ministry will seek to strengthen and enhance the economic, human and social capital opportunities.

Under economic capital, he said the Ministry will expand focus beyond remittances into investments, skills and technology transfer, entrepreneurship, trade and philanthropy.

“Here, we endeavour to develop a Diaspora mapping tool to collect data that can inform our interventions,” he explained.

He said the human capital will include the mutual recognition of qualifications in order to maximize mobility of diaspora talents, which also recognizes varied diaspora skill sets and tailor made programmes.

“We are collaborating with the Ministry of Labour and other stakeholders to establish a social welfare system for Kenyans in the Diaspora to achieve portability of social security. Social protection is a human right,” said Mudavadi.

Equally important, stated Mudavadi, are investments that address pressing social issues such as poverty alleviation, gender equality and access to education and health care, saying the Government’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should ensure focus on investment opportunities that foster positive change and create a long-term impact on communities and the environment.

“As we navigate the dynamic landscape of the global economy, you should note that your role extends beyond geographical boundaries. It transcends borders and embodies a connection that resonates with shared values, dreams, and a deep-rooted love for Kenya, our homeland. As a Government, we are here to support you and walk with you through that journey. Together, let us bridge borders, to build a sustainable future for our country.”

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