Chinamasa: Zim needs diaspora cash, skills

THE government has set plans to visit Zimbabwean nationals based in different parts of the world in efforts to lure them into supporting various investment initiatives undertaken by their troubled country.

Diaspora policy ready ... Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa

Diaspora policy ready … Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa

This was said by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa in parliament this past week while briefing the house on the envisaged National Diaspora Policy.

The policy is being sponsored by the Ministry of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration which has expertise in the exercise.

The ministry last year submitted a draft to cabinet for fine tuning.

“I am informed that that the Ministry has concluded drafting the policy and has in January 2016, submitted it to Cabinet for approval through the appropriate channels,” Chinamasa said.

“Once approved, structures will be put in place to engage the diasporians in a more formal manner to enhance their participation in the national development process through remittances, direct investment, philanthropy and skills transfer.

“As part of the process of cementing the engagement process, Government through the said Ministry, will undertake engagement workshops in South Africa and UK. This will be followed by similar workshops in the US, Australia and New Zealand where we have concentration of our nationals.”

The envisaged diaspora engagement policy was mooted some few months ago as part of government’s efforts to mop up funds from an estimated 3 million strong diaspora population and make them play a part in national development.

In 2014, diaspora remittances were estimated to be $1,8 billion also amounting to 15 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.

The policy will also state how government intended to protect its nationals based abroad.

Government feels disapora resources can be used to leverage increased trade, investment, technology, skills and cultural linkages between different countries.

The ambitious initiative is most likely to encounter huddles along the way after the Zanu PF led administration has obstinately refused to allow Zimbabweans based abroad to participate in national elections back home citing logistical challenges and a travel embargo on some top Zanu PF officials who feel they would not enjoy a similar opportunity with opponents to canvass for votes abroad.

Most Zimbabweans now based outside are so-called economic and political refugees who fled Zanu PF misrule when the country plunged into a deep economic abyss 2000.

The Zimbabwean government also has much to do to convince many that the proposed plan was also in the interest of its nationals.

This comes after it was recently slammed for failing to rescue over a hundred human trafficking victims who are holed up in Kuwait. The same government has often been accused of abandoning its ambassadors who are also in dire straits.

Post published in: Economy
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