Government courts diaspora community for national development

By Justin Mahlahla

An Inter-Ministerial Committee chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade will soon be put in place as part of measures to engage the Zimbabweans in the diaspora so that they can contribute towards the country’s economic development.

This came out in a post-cabinet media briefing this Wednesday.

Announcing the development, Acting Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Honourable Jenfan Muswere said the Committee is mandated to review the National Diaspora Policy as well as develop robust strategies and interventions for diaspora engagement and re-engagement.

Furthermore, the Cabinet Committee will have sector- specific Sub-Committees which will be mandated to deal with issues pertaining to any sector of the economy.

“The creation of a diaspora-friendly environment policy framework will assist the country to harness social, economic, political and cultural dividends which would help spur development in the country.

“The promotion of investments by diasporas in their country is part of the Second Republic’s engagement and re-engagement thrust. Diaspora remittances have been one of the key foreign currency contributors in the past,” noted Dr Muswere.

He said the development of a comprehensive policy and strategies will unlock knowledge and skills transfer; diaspora direct investment; and philanthropic works. Government, on the other hand, will avail industrial shells and land to eligible diasporas for the construction of specialist hospitals and industrial parks and any other areas or sectors. Government will also facilitate the establishment of joint ventures between diasporans and landowners for the production and export of high quality agricultural products and any other sector for investment,” he said.

In addition, the Consular Services abroad will be strengthened in order to issue Civil Registration documents, Visas and Work Permits.

A Diaspora Bond will be listed on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development once finalised.

It was further resolved that a One-Stop-Service-Centre for Diaspora investment applications be set-up at the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) to expedite the processing of the proposals.

Zimbabwe received close to US$800 million in diaspora remittances between January and June 2021, according to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.