World Bank Grant to Mobilize Kenya’s Diaspora for Development

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2011 – The Kenyan government’s International Jobs and Diaspora Directorate received a boost on April 6 with the approval of a World Bank-administered Institutional Development Fund Grant (IDF) of US$500,000 to support the engagement of the Kenyan Diaspora in development. 

This IDF grant will advance work already underway to develop Kenya’s Diaspora Engagement Strategic Policy Framework and its associated Action Plan. It will also assist the Directorate with development of its communications, outreach, and information gathering capacity.

Under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Diaspora Directorate was established in 2007, with a view to formally integrating the Kenyan Diaspora in national development, as outlined in Kenya’s “Vision 2030.”  

“The estimated 2.5 million Kenyans in the Diaspora may be far from home, but the Kenyan government recognizes their valuable contributions to Kenya’s economic development and encourages their full participation in its economy,” said Mr. Maurice O. A. Okoth, Kenya’s Director for Diaspora Affairs.

Preparation of Kenya’s pioneering strategy and action plan for Diaspora engagement is already underway. However, to ensure the strategy is both relevant and realistic, the government plans to engage in a series of consultations with Kenyans in the Diaspora.

The IDF grant will support workshops, conferences and outreach efforts designed to elicit meaningful contributions from Kenyans in the global Diaspora, according to Mr. Okoth. It will also assist the Directorate in increasing its reach to an additional 250,000 Kenyans in the Diaspora through development of a Diaspora database and web portal, enhancement of its virtual communications capacity, and specialized training for the diplomatic corps.

Kenya’s Diaspora initiative is important because of its large and established global Diaspora and its potential to contribute to the realization of goals embodied in the country’s development strategy, according to Richard Cambridge, Diaspora Advisor in the World Bank’s Africa Region.

“Engaging the Diaspora could fast-track development goals outlined in ‘Vision 2030’’ by enhancing economic opportunities for growth and wealth creation,” said World Bank Country Director for Kenya Mr. Johannes Zutt.

“The National Economic Blue print, the ‘Vision 2030’, in recognition of the impact the Diaspora can create,” said Kenya’s Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Richard Onyonka, “has placed it as one of the flagship projects under the financial sector.”