Kenyans in diaspora say friendly policies will boost remittances
10 August 2015, 15:17
Nairobi - The amount of money remitted by Kenyans in the diaspora will double if the government comes up with friendly policies that will ease investment by citizens living outside the country.
Dr Shem Ochudho, the global chair of the Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA) said there is need for the government to come up with supportive legal framework aimed at luring Kenyans in the diaspora to invest more in the country and also increase their remittances.
Speaking on Sunday at a Nairobi hotel, Ochudho said Kenya should emulate countries like China and Philippines which have diaspora friendly policies that have seen their citizen living outside the country sending more money home.
“China and the Philippines are examples of countries that have legislations and even incentives that have encouraged their citizen’s in the diaspora to send more money and invest back at home,” he said at the press conference, which came after a Diaspora Engagement Strategy Workshop at the same venue.
Ochudho noted that the diaspora is a major national resource that has remained largely untapped and asked relevant national government ministries and even the County governments to find ways of deepening their engagement with the group.
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“Last year, Kenyans in the diaspora remitted over KES 100 billion, this amount can double or even triple in the coming years if the government puts in a little effort to make it easier for its diaspora citizens to invest back at home,” he said.
“The same way efforts are being made to promote key sectors like Tourism, there should also be frameworks in place targeted at people in the diaspora who also sent in billions of shillings and contribute to the economic development of the country,” added Ochuodho.
Chris Njenga, an official of KDA who co-chaired the Diaspora Engagement Strategy Workshop said many diasporans are willing to invest more at home, but most times they feel they are largely ignored back at their native land.
“For Kenyans in the diaspora to increase what they sent home, the government should show some effort of even engaging us through organized groups like KDA and others. Diasporans feel largely forgotten,” said Njenga.
Peter Maina, the CEO of US based GeoNet Communications Group and Pamela Matinde, representative of Kenyans living in Netherlands decried the frustrations most Kenyans who intend to invest in the country undergo.
“There is a lot of bureaucracy at times in some offices in Kenya and even corruption which puts off some of the Kenyans living outside the country from investing at home. We can do more if we get rid of this corruption vice,” said Maina.
“Some of us have short time to come here and it gets incredibly difficult when you plan on investing at home only to be frustrated by public officials in some offices. There should be an enabling environment for people in the diaspora to invest back at home for the mutual benefits of us all,” said Ms Matinde.
KDA is a federation of 34 of some of the largest diaspora organizations with a combined membership of about 250,000 Kenyans staying and working in different parts of the globe.
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