The Malawi Government, through the Diaspora Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in its efforts to harness the Malawian Diaspora to meaningfully participate in the economic development of the country has started conducting consultative meetings with Malawians.
The objective of the consultations is to create space for the Malawian Diaspora to give their views and contribute to the policy document which will be the blue print that will guide Malawi’s engagement with her Diaspora.
The first workshop was conducted in Dublin, Ireland on May 28th to 29th 2015 and the Diaspora Unit held intensive and earnest discussions with Malawians from Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Scotland and Belgium.
Speaking in opening the workshop, Mrs. Gloria Bamusi, Head of the Diaspora Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, stated that the Malawi Government recognizes that the Malawian Diaspora is a huge resource, hence the business unusual approach in its efforts to devise policies that will work for both Malawi and Malawian Diaspora.
She further outlined the steps that the Malawi Government has taken to ensure that the initiative, which is long overdue, delivers for Malawi.
Bamusi emphasized that the Diaspora Policy Document is critical because it will clearly spell out objectives and strategies of engagement and elaborate the roles that various stakeholders will play to enable Malawi benefit from her Diaspora in national development.
The process of crafting a policy and enabling legislation for the Diaspora to contribute to national development is drawing lessons from countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Philippines and Ireland which have significantly benefited by capitalizing on their links with their Diaspora.
Malawi is not re-inventing wheel. Many countries have initiated specific policies and legislation to create an enabling environment for the Diaspora to participate fully and contribute to the development of these countries and are already reaping the fruits of proactively engaging the Diaspora
Dr Malawi Makaranga Ngwira, an academic based in Scotland, summed up the participants’ sentiments saying that: “This initiative is long overdue and Malawi will reap multiple benefits because only those countries with deliberate policies and initiatives that harness all human resources within and outside their national borders are the ones truly benefitting from globalization.”
Stanley Kenani, Chair of the Malawi Association in Switzerland, added that: “If the policy and various enabling legislation are devised and executed well, the outcome will be improved service delivery back home because, initiatives from the Diaspora that have been implemented without the support and knowledge of the Malawi Government will now be better coordinated.”
“This,” he said, “can only take Malawi to greater heights.”
Going forward, the Ministry will conduct further consultations in Africa (Addis Ababa), USA, Asia and Australia and established an online interactive portal to keep the public informed and involved.
It is envisaged that successful implementation of the initiative will see the Malawi economy benefiting from, among other things, formalized and strategic remittances.
Dr. Yonah Matemba, chairman of the Association of Malawians in Scotland and also a Scotland based academic, encouraged fellow Diasporans to collaborate with the Malawi Government.
He noted that: “Although Malawians in the Diaspora have – this far – been organizing themselves for social networking, the absence of a formal programme of engagement has often rendered such initiatives less effective, unsustainable and frustrating.”
“With a well function policy framework in place, these challenges will be alleviated.”
Mrs. Violet Gondwe-Koettner, a German of Malawi origin, welcomed the initiative and remarked: “This is an unprecedented initiative which all people of goodwill, Malawians or not and whether in Malawi or abroad, should embrace and support.”
The Dublin meeting was funded by the European Union and Akram Mukhamatkulov of MIgration EU expertise – MIEUX, Dr. Martin Russell and Mr. Albert Tucker, experts in Diaspora policy issues.
The Diaspora Policy Document is expected to be ready and finalized in November 2015.
Taking advantage of their stay in Dublin, Ireland, the highly motivated team from the Diaspora Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation also interacted with 15 institutions that have actively supported Ireland’s century old Diaspora tradition and culture to learn from their experience and expertise.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :