Malawians resident in Swaziland were Sunday assured that government is working on a bill that will allow Malawians to have dual citizenship.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Francis Kasaila said this when he met Malawians living in Swaziland at the Royal Swazi Spa Hotel in Mbabane on the sidelines of the 36th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government.
Responding to a question on what the status quo was on the issue of dual citizenship, Kasaila informed the meeting that ‘Government is working on a draft bill that will soon be presented in Parliament for consideration’ adding that Malawi was losing out as some of its citizens were failing to come and invest in their own country due to fear of losing benefits in their adopted countries where they were earning a living.
Kasaila said it was important that Malawians in diaspora become actively involved in development efforts in their country of origin disclosing that government was doing its best to smooth the environment for their active involvement.
“We are currently finalizing a new foreign policy that is focused on trade and investment with the diaspora being a key part of it.
Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dalitso Kabambe, chipped in telling the meeting that ‘countries like Rwanda, Ethiopia, India, China and others get huge capital inflows through remittances and other investments from their citizens in the diaspora and as Malawi we will not be left behind,”
Kabambe disclosed that Malawi got US $4 million and US $15 million through remittances in 2014 and 2015 respectively through official channels which is a drop when compared with countries like China and India who got over US $2.8 billion and US 2.5 billion over similar periods.
However, Kasaila was quick to add that the diaspora are key to so many areas of national development like education, infrastructure development, trade and not just remittances.
Earlier, Chairperson of the Association of Malawians living in Swaziland, Harris Kamanga said Malawi should work on tapping on various trade opportunities that existed in Swaziland especially on agricultural commodities which have a readily available market.
Another Malawian Regina Shabangu Gomani called on the Malawi Government to study how the Swaziland Government manages and controls its transportation system which she said was corrupt free, efficient and cost effective to which Kasaila said Malawi will ssurely com[pare notes with Swaziland through diplomatic channels.
Kasaila was delegated by President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika to represent him at the Summit and will join Heads of State and Government for closed door meeting Tuesday and Wednesday.
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