Dear Kenyans in Diaspora,
It is my prayer that you are doing well; accept our greetings from home. I was overwhelmed by your goodwill messages during and after the General Election. Your concern and love for your motherland was so touching. You clearly stood out as proud supporters and champions of the country and we hope you felt part of us during the process.
Your words of encouragement and solidarity portrayed you as true ambassadors of the ‘Kenya Brand’. I could visualise your friends in awe and having a burning desire to visit Kenya. In fact, I’m sure we have a couple of tourists and investors planning to come to Kenya courtesy of you. For this deep act of patriotism I salute you.
My interaction with some friends and acquaintances in Diaspora shows a common nostalgia to come back home. It is not just that they simply miss home, but that they want to come back and contribute to Nation building.
Many want to work, invest and be part of Kenya’s development agenda. We cannot overlook the losses Kenya makes via brain drain; many of you left Kenya to seek higher education with the hope of coming back home. Our top students are now employees of foreign multinationals.
Please don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong in working abroad, on the contrary, it shows that we can compete at any level and succeed. Those who have been awarded scholarships have proved to the world that Kenyans are as good as everyone else.
In addition to these, the remittances from the Diaspora in developing countries are three times the official development assistance. However, we cannot overlook the need for professionals in our country if we are to achieve Vision 2030.
It would be disastrous for Kenya to overlook the benefits of liaising with Kenyans in Diaspora in regards to Nation Branding. However, the link with Diasporans should not only be linked to Nation Branding but the overall development of the mother country.
Certainly, your host country has been gracious enough to have you study, work and live peacefully and freely but Kenya needs your input as well. China, Mexico and India have immensely benefited via their links with citizens in the Diaspora.
I’m certain you will be happy to know that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has designed policies to enable you in the Diaspora contribute to the development of our country. The ministry also places job openings on their website specifically for Kenyans in Diaspora who want to come back home.
With the new constitution in place, a blue print for Kenya’s development and the entrepreneurial and resilient spirit of Kenyans, Kenya is at the tipping point ready to take off and we all need to work together to achieve our vision.
You are a critical component of team Kenya and I look forward to working together for our country.
Mary Kimonye, CEO – Brand Kenya Board.