Editor's Comment

Dual citizenship should up capital inflows

AMONG the clauses Parliament passed last Friday was dual citizenship. This clause has been hailed as historical because it now means Zambians in the diaspora can acquire dual citizenship.
The passing of this clause is expected to spawn a lot of benefits for Zambia. The country will benefit financially and socially from all the citizens who have settled in the diaspora.
Financially, it is cheaper to access loans in other countries, which can be used to develop Zambia.
Socially, Zambians will enjoy benefits of both countries as citizens.
Zambia has a lot of human resource outside the country.  Some of these work for international organisations such as the African Development Bank, the Southern African Development Community and United Nations agencies.
There are also a lot of Zambians, who have decided to settle in foreign lands either after studies or job contracts.
Time has come for Zambia to begin to tap into the huge diaspora savings for development.
This will ultimately help the country earn more foreign exchange that could even surpass official development assistance.
Diaspora remittances could contribute to helping stabilise the Kwacha, which has suffered severe turbulences, fluctuations triggered by external factors such as the drop in copper prices on the international market.
It could be argued that Zambians in the diaspora can still remit some of their resources without having dual citizenship.  This is true but the motivation could be higher when one knows that he or she could invest in either country as a citizen.
Remittances from the diaspora could help tilt the balance as Zambians will proudly invest in sectors of the economy such as agriculture, real estate, manufacturing and tourism.
Even the mere act of sending money back home to help relatives or to build a house adds to improving the economy.  This has been so for many developing countries.
The passing of the clause of the diaspora comes on the heels of Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, unveiling the diaspora policy.
The diaspora clause in the constitution and the policy should begin talking to each other so that Zambians begin to reap like other countries.
According to World Bank data, Nigeria is the fifth largest recipient of foreign remittances among developing countries.  The West African giant is the first in Africa.
These remittances are the second biggest source of foreign exchange earnings for Nigeria, the first being revenue from oil.
Globally, India has been topping with US$70 billion followed by China on US$60 billion.
In 2014, international migrants from developing countries sent US$436 billion in remittances to their home countries despite escalation of deportations from some host countries.
Remittances to sub-Saharan Africa in 2013 reached $32 billion, growth of about 3.5 percent. Flows are forecast to skyrocket to US$41 billion in 2016.
Zambia’s economy should have a sizable share of this money.

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