Letter to Kenyans in the Diaspora

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MARY KIMONYE

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.

Yours Sincerely,

Mary Kimonye, CEO – Brand Kenya Board.

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  • Benjamin

    what a mother

  • Abra wa Dabra.

    On the flip side, I think something else that Kenya out here would benefit from greatly is STRONG leadership in their Embassies and High commissions. Issues like professional accreditation or qualifications recognition are some of the hiccups we experience out here. For one to have to sit for e.g to have to sit for an english proficiency test is absurd- Kenya language of instruction is English- but who knows this. MFA or the relevant bodies, UON etc need to look into this.

  • Ngoma

    You must harness our expertise and knowledge in marketing Kenya abroad. Some of the agencies being used by the likes of KTB are nothing but a bunch of hopeless and snobbish looters yet we are so brainwashed to think that only a muzungu/mwarabu or whatever can market Kenya. The representative agency in Dubai is a sham – was embarrassed to see Nigeria with a better stand at the annual travel show there whilst Kenya had something worse than a kiosk!!! Shame.

  • kipsuter morioong

    nice steps and welcomed by all kenyans.

  • This is a step in the right direction, Madam Kimonye. Kenyans in the diaspora are out there because of many reasons but we remain very close to our motherland in many ways. There are a number of things you need to do with Kenyans in the diaspora, so that we feel a part of nation building besides sending money home – you need to have someone at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who has worked in the diaspora – not as a government employee but independently because they would understand better how to deal with diasporans, who are often seen as ‘rich’ and snobbish by many Kenyans – which is not true. Kenyan embassies need to interact more with Kenyans abroad – whether wana makaratisi ama hawana wherever they are as we do not stop being Kenyans just because of the status some of us have. We need to be seen as part and parcel of developing Kenya and hopefully, in the next election, there will be serious voting by diasporans from wherever they are. Almost every country has a group or two that brings together Kenyans abroad – work with those. Please treat diasporans as Kenyans, not ‘those people’ working abroad.

  • I think as a patriot I will settle and work in Kenya though I visit quarterly. Kenya needs to recognize its brains not to import expats while Kenyans are available and with better know how.
    Good example is the Case of CDN where expats has made the company to come to its knees due lack of good management by foreign expats.
    Right now I will continue serving Iraq IT infrastructure as an Expat of which I can also do better in Kenya.
    Best wishes to Kenyans.

  • We need an ambassador who is economically,socially inteligent,liquid,among all wisdom,we have desire to invest,visit home regularly but there are so many obstacles,many of them can be solved using common sense but our leaders are opaque.please give us leaders who are close to diasporas and can interract freely.

  • Kangai

    Well done Brand Kenya team! Seems to me that you just found one way of tapping into the Kenyan talent, competencies and social and human capital abroad/overseas. As a champion and agent for the this cause, your approach is innovative and encouraging. Keep it up and know that we love Kenya, although not physically at home, we believe that Kenya is a sleeping economic giant and a haven for anyone looking for a place to settle be it from a climatic perspective, scenery, hosipitality and others, Kenya is just the best place one could live. However, we need and must join hands to ensure it reaches its full economic, social, and political potential all all Kenyans and visitors to enjoy it.

  • Well spoken Madam Kimonye, but by the look of this article,
    though I can tell for sure how many Kenyans have read it one thing is for sure,
    very few given the number of comments left here.

    My main issue with “Brand Kenya” is the way and means you
    reach out to Kenyans and potential investors or tourists.

    I’m a Boston residence for the past 18 years and I have seen
    TV commercials for Tanzania, Egypt, Morocco and South Africa on both Local and
    National TV. These countries pay hundred thousands of dollars to run these kind
    of commercial for months on various TV Channels.

    Unlike Kenya these countries take marketing seriously. They
    advertise their countries like a commodity.

    Kenya on the other hand depends on once a year Boston, New
    York or Chicago Marathon and a few Maasaai Mara you tube clips posted by
    previous visitors. This is wrong.

    If CNN, CBS ABC, Fox etc are too expensive Someone need to
    think about advertising on Blogs, Kenya owned radios in Diaspora, Using Kenya
    owned tractor trailers (Mkokoteni AKA 18 wheeler) as mobile Billboard, Email
    banks for newsletter and so many other “Cheap” methods. You just have to think
    out of the box.

    James
    Jambo Boston Radio

    • My2Cents

      This is exactly the kind of input the Mary Kimonye is talking about, see, we need people with out of the box ideas on how to market Kenya effectively, an you are one of them.

  • Does this apply to people living in Rongai?

  • Job Openings !!!!! first employ the millions who are unemployed back home…stop lying…we have thousands of graduates who are unemployed kenya give them jobs first
    …i will keep on working in Afganistan..kenya job market is doomed…..

  • East or West, home is always best, i used to think the big money one earns in Europe makes one happy, but money is not everything. am better off in my Kenyas motherland than in Europe 100 times,,,,,,,,, and the story continues

  • pauline

    Hello Mary Kimonye & thanks for your article, its so true that we are tired of the stressful life in Europe , France and very keen on job adverts in my industry, but everytime i apply for a job , then im told that i have to attend the interview in Kenya , and taking the air fare into consideration and not being sure to be picked out , it gets quite discouraging in the end .
    If anyone knows how i can go about it without having to attend an interview in Kenya , i would be really grateful . Im currently working in a french company as an imports zone manager buyer with a masters in International trade .
    thankyou !

  • Mwikali Wambua

    I love Kenya, its the corruption and bad politics I hate.

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