Zimbabwes first Diaspora conference gets underway

victoria_falls1Zimbabwes first Diaspora Conference gets underway in the resort town of Victoria Falls.

The three day conference, which began today (16 December) is the first ever Diaspora conference to be held in Zimbabwe and brings together 150 Zimbabweans living in Australia, Botswana, Netherlands, Senegal, South Africa Swaziland, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Captains of industry, worker organisations, civic society, senior level government officials and Zimbabwean professionals are also among delegates to the three day conference. In the past decade Zimbabwe witnessed a mass exodus of its nationals with many, close to 4.5 million, leaving the country to settle in neighboring countries and abroad.

The conference aims to help facilitate the formation of an institutional framework that will support effective contributions to and participation in economic recovery by Zimbabweans living abroad. The conference organisers Development Foundation for Zimbabwe (DFZ) said it was important for Zimbabweans to set aside their political differences and participate in the development of the country.

We are here because of our collective commitment to Zimbabwes development. We are duty-bound over the next three days to set aside our differences and embrace our common citizenship. This conference is not intended to be a platform for point-scoring, finger-pointing or political grandstanding, said Mr Brian Kagoro, the DFZ Chairman of the board of trustees.

He said the export of human capital is seen by some only as a loss to Zimbabwe whose public service has been severely depleted. However, it is also possible to see this phenomenon as the representation of the global competitiveness of Zimbabweans. It creates an internationalised cultural, social and economic resource for national development, he said.

Mr Kagoro said a critical mass of Zimbabweans living abroad has gained skills, experience and capital useful for potential redeployment in Zimbabwe. Tragically though, a significant number of Zimbabweans in Europe and the region had been de-skilled.

He said the conference, the first in a series, was one of several initiatives to harness the potential of the Diaspora. He said it was envisaged that the conference would contribute to a framework that will help the Diaspora contribute to the countrys development.

Notes for Editors

The Development Foundation for Zimbabwe (DFZ) is a registered, non-profit, non-partisan organisation created and driven by Zimbabweans. Its principal purpose is to provide a platform for constructive engagement between Zimbabweans in the Diaspora and fellow Zimbabweans, government, business and civil society.

The conference aims to:

Facilitate the formation of an institutional framework that will support effective contributions to and participation in economic recovery by Zimbabweans living abroad.

Provide a platform for opinion leaders and implementers to discuss the role of the Diaspora.

Define mechanisms, processes and policies that will allow government, business, civil society and other sectors to make optimal use of the vast number of Zimbabweans living abroad to contribute to national recovery and long-term development.

To register for the conference or request additional information on The DFZ please contact Michelle Hakata at [email protected] or [email protected] or telephone + 263 777 83 5881 or visit www.dfzim.org

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