Interests of Kenyans abroad a priority, Uhuru says

President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks at the Kenya-Belgium Business Forum in Brussels, Belgium, on June 15, 2016. PHOTO | PSCU

The interests of Kenyans in the diaspora is a priority for the government, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.

The President said all Kenyan embassies must bring Kenyans in the diaspora together and identify their needs.

The missions are also required to update the diaspora on important developments in Kenya as well as the country of accreditation, changes in the laws and Kenya’s relations with other countries.

“Kenya places great value on her diaspora and my government has continuously called on all Kenyans wherever they are, to work together and stand united as one,” said the President when he addressed Kenyans in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday night.

He said the government values the contribution of the Kenyan diaspora in the national development agenda and continues to build ways to integrate their input.

“It is important to note that the diaspora provides considerable support through remittances. In fact, the Central Bank of Kenya has reported that remittances increased by 11.2 percent in the last one year,” said the President.

He noted that Kenya was one of the recipients of the highest remittances from Europe in 2015.

The President said the government is putting in place mechanisms to enable Kenyans living in foreign nations to enjoy the provisions of the Constitution that provide for dual nationality and voting rights.

“The government is putting in place mechanisms to ensure that these rights become a lived reality for all. Equally important is the right to citizenship for children born of Kenyan women and foreign fathers outside Kenya, a right that had for a long time been denied,” said the President.

He called on Kenyans living in foreign countries to work hard and contribute to the progress of Kenya as well as their host countries.

“I encourage the diaspora to use your time wisely while sojourning abroad, diversify and improve your skills in different areas in order to take greater advantage of the international job market,” said Mr Kenyatta.

President Kenyatta also said the government would continue engaging foreign nations, including Belgium, to harmonise academic and professional certificates to open up job markets for Kenyans.

The President addressed the Kenyans at the Hotel Metropolitan in Brussels.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and Kenya’s ambassador to Belgium, Johnson Weru, were among the speakers at the event.

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