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Friday, 16 March 2012

15 ideas that should underpin a new diaspora policy

By Chola Mukanga

  1. Creation of more opportunities for volunteering by the diaspora across all sectors, but especially health and education
  2. Creation of a government driven diaspora skills network linked to universities in Zambia and other areas where government sees fit
  3. Establishment of collaborative programmes between the diaspora and key business and civil society institutions
  4. Reform of Zambian foreign missions so that they become tools that engage more actively with the diaspora, rather just being "drinking centres"
  5. Establish an effective, de-politicised and more focused desk for diaspora affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with sole focus on economic and social matters related to the diaspora.
  6. A Diaspora bill in Parliament that focuses on issues related to the diaspora that sets clearly specific provisions in relation to the diaspora.
  7. Support the push for reform of citizenship laws, as part of a pro-diaspora constitutional reform programme. This would look not only at dual citizenship, but also marriage and citizenship requirements for public office.
  8. Establish partnership between government and diaspora on a small deliverable education project e.g. adopting a school. If such a project proved successful, it can be rolled out more widely
  9. Provide Government incentives to Zambian diaspora investing in culture (art, music); and, provision of general differential tax incentives for sending goods to relatives in rural areas from abroad.
  10. Zambian communities abroad to be conferred by government with honorary status as focal persons in promoting culture and identity among Zambians abroad.
  11. Development of e-governance systems that would help cope with administratively managing the identities of Zambians abroad. To facilitate this in the long term the Central Statistics Office should also be mandated to extend the national census through the embassies and through the Internet to collect vital statistics.
  12. The diaspora should be utilized to complement efforts in promoting Zambia as “the Real Africa”. Huge travel costs incurred through tourism promotion initiatives could be greatly reduced by engaging and employing the skills of Diaspora based in target markets abroad.
  13. The diaspora should be considered for appointments to diplomatic positions in their countries of foreign residence. As a first step they should be allowed and encouraged to apply and compete for these jobs.
  14. Support the expansion of Zambian banks to set up branches in key capitals around the world in order to facilitate greater remittances and encourage diaspora led investment in housing and other areas.
  15. Encouragement of the diaspora to signal more effectively to the government and Zambians at home that they are ready and willing partners of development e.g. encouraging a global indaba of Zambians abroad every two years as a government supported forum for networking and exchanging ideas.

1 comment:

  1. Here's a crazy idea: why take the enormous budget that is currently being wasted on frivolous commissions of inquiry and sponsor scholarships for Zambian students to attend university and and master degrees abroad in Europe, Asia, and the USA. In exchange for the scholarships, they are required to work three years of public service within this or that ministry - inevitably some of them will stay, and transform Zambian institutions to adopt new practices and higher efficiency and transparency.

    Doesn't that make sense?


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