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Diaspora Alliance Conference to focus on economic development

By Rawlings Otieno | December 1st 2015

NAIROBI, KENYA: Over 1000 Kenyans living abroad will be in Nairobi for a major investment conference to discuss their position in economic development in the country.

According to the Chairman of the event organized by the Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA) Prof Kefa Otiso, the conference scheduled to start next week Wednesday will bring together delegates from across the globe.

The meeting is aimed at strengthening investment programs by the Kenyans living abroad whose remittances have hit close to 10 percent of the National GDP.

"The Convention will engage local political and economic actors on several areas of mutual interests to foster development in Kenya and strengthen bilateral/multilateral relations and the country's democratic growth," Prof Otiso said.

The delegates will also engage local leaders on a number of social, economic and political issues including a review on the position of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on the diaspora's participation in the next General Election.

The IEBC has just released proposed guidelines on the Diasporas' participation in the next elections following a ruling by the Supreme Court that ordered that Kenyans living abroad be facilitated to exercise their democratic rights through elections from 2017.

The court ordered that they should be allowed to participate in all the six elective positions including the Ward Representatives seat.

KDA's Legal Committee on Diaspora Voting and Representation Chair Henry Ongeri cautioned that IEBC should not mix policy issues.

He averred that the question of whether or not Kenyans are willing to register with their embassies and consulates overseas should not be the sole determining factor on how and where IEBC should locate polling stations.

Key speakers lined up to participate at the event include Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Secretary General Dr Mukhisa Kituyi.

Others include the Africa Union Commission Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha, and Council of Governors Chair Peter Munya, who is also the Governor of Meru County and several Ambassadors and High Commissioners of different countries.

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