State will support Kenyans living abroad, says Foreign Affairs CS Alfred Mutua

Diaspora Homecoming Convention

Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Dr Alfred Mutua confers with American Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman (centre) and other dignitaries at the 9th Diaspora Homecoming Convention at Ole Sereni Hotel in Nairobi on December 7, 2022.

Photo credit: Pool

The government has announced plans to strengthen diaspora remittances and investment opportunities for Kenyans living abroad. 

Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Dr Alfred Mutua on Wednesday said the Kenya Kwanza administration is currently putting up structures for dialogue with Kenyans in the diaspora to formulate policies that will enhance increased remittances and creation of investment opportunities.

Speaking during the opening of a three-day diaspora investment convention organized by the Kenya Diaspora Alliance in Nairobi, Dr Mutua assured Kenyans living abroad of a structured engagement with the new administration.

“The Kenyan diaspora is in good hands with the Kenya Kwanza government. President William Ruto is fully committed to tapping into the potentiality of the Kenyan diaspora because this was one of his pledges,” said Dr Mutua.

The unit will be responsible for formulating a framework and implementing measures for effectively supporting Kenyans in the diaspora. In announcing his new Cabinet, the President promised to focus on creating a conducive climate for diaspora investments. He stated that these provisions will further enable those in the diaspora to invest back at home.

Dr Mutua also announced plans by the government to open a diaspora department in all Kenyan missions abroad. 

“We want to ensure that Kenyans and foreigners seeking information on investment in Kenya can easily get it from all our missions abroad,” he added.

He also said the new administration is keen on doubling the remittances from abroad to steer the economy.

Principal Secretary for State Department for Diaspora Affairs Roselyne Njogu said the Kenya Kwanza Government will develop policies that will form part of policies for the ministry in engaging the diaspora community.

“We are going to encourage dialogue with all diaspora associations to enable us to formulate policies that will improve the welfare of those abroad and in the country,” said Ms Njogu.

Diaspora remittances rose to Sh283.6 billion or 13 per cent from Sh250.4 billion over the period January to July 2022. The US is the biggest source of remittances to Kenya, accounting for 59 per cent of the total sum of funds sent into the country this year.

Chairperson of the Committee for Diaspora Affairs and Migrant Workers Lydia Mizighi pledged to engage with the Kenya Diaspora Alliance in ending woes affecting Kenyan migrant workers in the Middle East.

The Chairperson of the Kenya Diaspora Alliance Dr Shem Ochuodho asked the government to support Kenyans abroad in ensuring increased remittances and investment opportunities.

 “We call on the government to support us in boosting remittances back home and creating an investment atmosphere for the diaspora community," said Dr Ochuodho.

Already, Parliament has set up a standalone committee to address the plight of migrant workers, students and holders of dual citizenship living abroad following an outcry from domestic workers in the Middle East. 

The select committee on Diaspora and Migrant Workers is expected to take shape in the coming days once lawmakers are placed in the House team.

The committee will deal with all matters relating to the protection of the rights and welfare of Kenyans in the diaspora. 

The 14-member team will handle all issues facing Kenyan nationals with dual citizenship, Kenyan migrant workers and their families abroad and Kenyans undertaking studies abroad. 

The establishment of a standalone committee comes amid a jump in the numbers moving abroad in search of greener pastures and abuse cases by employers in the Middle East.