Kenyans living and working abroad have urged the government to improve the investment environment in the country to enable them to contribute more to the national development. They said that the government should address the challenges and barriers that hinder them from investing in various sectors of the economy, such as real estate, agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and IT.
The Kenyans in diaspora made their appeal during the Kenya Diaspora Homecoming Convention, which was held from December 13 to 15 at the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) in Nairobi. The convention, organized by the Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA), brought together over 1,000 participants from different countries to network, learn, and showcase investment opportunities.
The convention also featured speakers from the government, private sector, civil society, and academia, who shared their insights and experiences on various topics, such as governance, public-private partnerships, social justice, economic empowerment, environmental sustainability, and youth engagement.
The KDA chairman, Shem Ochuodho, said that the convention was aimed at creating a platform for dialogue and collaboration between the diaspora and the government, as well as other stakeholders, to harness the potential of the diaspora for national transformation. He said that the diaspora remits over Sh200 billion annually, making it the largest source of foreign exchange for the country.
However, he said that most of the remittances go to consumption rather than investment, due to the lack of trust, transparency, and accountability in the investment environment. He said that the government should create a conducive and enabling environment for the diaspora to invest in the country, by providing incentives, protection, and facilitation.
He also said that the government should recognize and appreciate the role and contribution of the diaspora to the country’s development, and involve them in policy making and implementation. He said that the diaspora has a wealth of knowledge, skills, and networks that can be leveraged to enhance the country’s competitiveness and innovation.
The Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary, Roseline Njogu, who represented the government at the convention, said that the government values and respects the diaspora as an important partner in the country’s development agenda. She said that the government has taken several measures to improve the investment environment for the diaspora, such as establishing a diaspora policy, a diaspora department, a diaspora portal, and a diaspora council.
She also said that the government has facilitated the provision of consular services, such as registration, documentation, and identification, to the diaspora. She also said that the government has supported the diaspora in accessing opportunities in various sectors, such as trade, tourism, education, health, and culture.
She urged the diaspora to take advantage of the opportunities and incentives offered by the government, and to invest in the country’s development. She also urged them to participate in the country’s governance, and to uphold the values and principles of the Constitution. She assured them of the government’s commitment and support to address their issues and concerns.