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State seeks to boost economy using foreign, diaspora policy

COUNTIES
By Geoffrey Mosoku | January 22nd 2015

Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta has launched the Kenya Foreign and Diaspora Policy, with calls to Government institutions to work closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make it successful.

The President said the two policy documents will govern Kenya’s external relations and consolidate contribution of the Kenyan diaspora to the country’s development.

“While the Foreign Policy document lays out the principles that govern our engagement with the world, the Diaspora Policy will guide us in harnessing the wealth and expertise of Kenyans in the diaspora to our development efforts,” he said.

President Kenyatta spoke at Kenyatta International Convention Centre on Tuesday during the historic launch of the first ever published Kenya Foreign and Diaspora Policy.

He said the Foreign Policy is pegged on five pillars – economic, peace, environmental, cultural and diaspora diplomacy. The core of the economic diplomacy pillar, the President said, is the search for a robust and sustained economic growth as envisaged under Vision 2030.

“While our economy was recently re-based, making the country a middle-income country and the 9th largest economy in Africa, we know that too many of our people remain poor and lack opportunity. Economic diplomacy will form a critical part of our development push,” he said.

President Kenyatta said Kenya has redefined its foreign policy to ensure it properly supports robust reciprocal bilateral and multilateral relations in trade, taxation and investment.

He said the Government will target new economic powers and more traditional economic partners to increase trade and investment relations.

Under the peace diplomacy pillar, the President said Kenya will continue to collaborate with other African countries to strengthen the conflict-prevention, management and resolution capacity of regional institutions. “Moreover, we will continue to work with our partners to eradicate the pressing international threats of terrorism, piracy, money laundering, drug and child trafficking,” the President said.

GROWTH AGENDA

President Kenyatta said Kenya will continue to play a critical role in shaping the global environmental agenda as the host of the United Nations Environment Programme.

He said Kenya intends to increase awareness of its cultural richness and generate global interest in the country’s cultural heritage.

Given the abundance of skilled, knowledgeable and patriotic Kenyans outside the country, the President said it was essential to integrate the diaspora into national development agenda.

 

He appreciated that the country’s efforts to embrace the Diaspora were recognised by the African Union in January 2014, when the Ordinary Session of the Executive Council accepted Kenya’s offer to host the African Institute for Remittances.

“The establishment of the Institute, the first of its kind in the world, will form a cornerstone in harnessing diaspora resources for social and economic development in Africa,” he said. As part of ensuring that Kenyan Diaspora is fully integrated into national development, he observed that last October, Deputy President William Ruto launched the Diaspora Web Portal – an online one-stop information facility that provides an avenue for registration of Kenyans in the diaspora and a reference for investment and employment opportunities.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed outlined key strategies in Kenya’s foreign policy. The CS said the objective is to improve the welfare of Kenyans abroad and to mainstream their participation in national development.


 

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