Panafrican News Agency

Kenya: Diaspora remittances hit 3% of Kenyan GDP

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - The three million Kenyans in the Diaspora remitted 113 billion Kenyan Shillings in 2013, accounting for 3% of the country's GDP, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary, Amina Abdalla, has said.

This, Abdalla said, implies that the Diaspora, which is an important part of Kenya's social and economic fabric, has huge potential to positively contribute to the growth of the country's economy.

Speaking at the launch of the Kenya Foreign and Diaspora Policy in Nairobi, the cabinet secretary said in spite of this, Kenyans living abroad face challenges, among them the high cost of remitting money.

Other challenges include the Kenya Government's inadequate capacity to offer consular services.

There is also the problem of weak structures to inform Kenyans in Diaspora of investment opportunities back home, the and lack of an integrated database on Kenyans abroad.

"Kenya Diaspora Policy's broad objective seeks to improve the welfare of Kenyans abroad and to mainstream their participation in the national development process in line with Vision 2030,'' she said.

Welcoming guests, who included President Uhuru Kenyatta, who presided over the function, Abdalla said much as Kenya has always had a Foreign Policy, it was the first time it was being published since attaining independence in 1963.

Turning the country's Foreign Policy, Abdalla, whose docket includes international trade, said the country has made good progress in achieving core priorities.

Kenya's robust economic engagements at bilateral, regional and international levels have borne positive results.

"This is reflected in the rise of Foreign Direct Investments inflows from US$ 597 million in 2012/2013 to US$ 868.44 million in 2013/2014, a growth of 46 per cent,'' she said.

Expounding on the Foreign Policy, the cabinet secretary said as part of the African continent, policy formulators paid due attention to the developments taking place in Africa.
-0- PANA DJ/VAO 22Jan2015