Kenyans living abroad told to consider technology transfer in addition to remittances
INNOVATION: The government yesterday promised to put in place structures to make it easier for Kenyans abroad to invest in the country in a fresh bid to woo investments from the diaspora community.
Principal Secretary, State Department for Diaspora Affairs, Roslyn Njogu said the Kenya Kwanza administration has also stepped up efforts to support Kenyans in diaspora in boosting remittances back home.
“We are calling on Kenyans to think about what new business opportunities they are bringing into the country. Kenyans abroad should think of technology transfer as new fronts they can bring into Kenya from their host countries.,” she said. Njogu was speaking during the opening of the 10th annual Kenya Diaspora Homecoming Convention (KDHC 2023) at a Nairobi hotel.
The event brings together Kenyans living and working abroad to celebrate the year that has passed, network, make projections, and receive updates on upcoming opportunities and activities
The investment conference that started yesterday will for the first time recognise achievements of Kenyans living abroad with rewards. Njogu said they have received concerns from Kenyans abroad decrying the high cost of sending money back to the country. She promised to engage all stakeholders in the diaspora money transfer sector to ensure that the cost is manageable.
“The concern we have noted from the diaspora is the high cost of sending money back home. We want more Kenyans abroad to keep sending money back home so that we develop our economy,” he added.
Currently, the Foreign and Diaspora Affairs ministry is in the process of setting up and securing systems for Kenyans in diaspora to obtain jobs that suit their qualifications. Kenya Diaspora Alliance Global chairperson Dr Shem Ochuodho exuded confidence that the steps laid down by the government to improve the welfare of Kenyans in the diaspora will improve remittance in the country.
“I am confident that the steps being undertaken by the government to improve the welfare of Kenyans living abroad by the government will bear fruits and see the doubling of remittances,” he said. Ochuodho said that tapping into diaspora remittances can boost the economy of the country at a time Kenyans are struggling with the high cost of living.
He said the tough economic times in the country can be rescued by leveraging diaspora remittances and called on the government to place a favourable environment for investment opportunities to woo Kenyans abroad into investing in the country.
“We are seeking to convince the government that it is Kenyans in the diaspora who can rescue our economy during tough times if a better investment environment is in place,” said Ochuodho. United States Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman lauded the Kenya Diaspora Alliance for organising the conference. She encouraged Kenyans abroad to invest back in the country.
According to Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Diaspora Remittances Surveys, inflows to the East African nation, considered to have the largest economy in this region, has increased tenfold over the past decade, reaching a record of $4.027 billion (Sh559.57 billion) in 2022.