Government to establish data bank on Kenyan diaspora expertise


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Kenyan diasporaTokyo, Japan: The Government is set to establish a data bank on the expertise of the Kenyan diaspora to tap its skills for the country’s development, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.

He said there was no need to look for expertise that is not locally available elsewhere when the same could be provided by Kenyans in the diaspora. “We are beginning to work in gas and oil exploration, fields that are new in Kenya.

We need the expertise of Kenyans in the diaspora,” the President said. President Kenyatta spoke in Tokyo on Sunday when met the Kenyan diaspora living and working in Japan. He urged the techno-savvy Kenyan diaspora to help in translating the ideas of Kenyan youth into practical innovations that will create employment and accelerate the country’s development. “We do not want to be just importers of technology but developers and manufacturers of the same,” President Kenyatta said.

Noting that the Government has intensified investment in the health sector, President Kenyatta said maintenance and repair of equipment would require engineering skills that could be provided by the Kenyan diaspora. Last month, President Kenyatta launched a 38 billion shillings health plan that would equip hospitals in the 47 counties with cancer diagnosis and treatment, kidney dialysis and surgery equipment.

The President pointed out that the expertise of the Kenyan diaspora was also need in positioning Kenya as a regional ICT hub. He said as the Government discussed with multinational corporations like Toyota to put up assembling plants in Kenya, opportunities existed for the Kenyan diaspora to set up small companies that would serve large enterprises.

“The economy of a country is not just driven by the big companies but also the small ventures; and that is where you come in,” President Kenyatta told the Kenyan diaspora. Responding to questions raised, the President assured that the Government is doing everything to ensure the country is safe. Citing the example of Huduma centres, President Kenyatta said they have helped to remove bureaucratic red tape and boosted public service delivery.

Speaking during the occasion, Transport and Infrastructure CS Michael Kamau said Kenya has been granted landing rights at Haneda International Airport and Kenya Airways could soon operate direct flights to Japan.  Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said in recognition of the invaluable contribution made by the Kenyan diaspora, a diaspora policy was developed and launched in January this year.

She said the policy prioritizes the promotion and protection of the welfare of the diaspora, encourages and facilitates participation in the investment opportunities in the country. “In short, it intends to make your contribution more secure and more profitable and productive. Moving forward, our engagement with you will be more systematic, seamless and easier,” the CS said. She added that plans are underway to establish intermediary facilities to provide investment management services and incentives that specifically target Kenyans abroad.

“These will include Government securities and Public Private Partnership engagements. An example is the Diaspora Bond which the government intends to float in the near future,” she said. On the issue of voting, the CS said a committee mandated to ensure that Kenyans in the diaspora participate in the 2017 general elections in Kenya is in place. National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said the reason why Kenya has embraced the 8-year policy on importation of used vehicles is to encourage growth of local industries and also curb environmental pollution.

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