Editor's Comment

Let’s tap into Zambians abroad

PRESIDENT Lungu flanked by Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Susan Sikaneta (left) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba. The President arrived in Addis Ababa for the AU Summit yesterday. PICTURE: EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATE HOUSE.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday presented its 2016 quarterly report to President Edgar Lungu, whose emphasis was on the Diaspora policy and the professionalisation of the Foreign Service.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba told President Lungu that the Diaspora policy, which is yet to be approved by Cabinet, will enable Zambians living abroad to fully participate in the affairs back home.
Mr Kalaba said the policy aims to empower Zambians living outside the country to contribute to the development of their nation.
This is indeed an important policy and it is important that it be quickly tabled for approval by Cabinet. Zambia needs the Diaspora policy like yesterday.
We acknowledge that the 2016 general elections took a toll on the country and most programmes stalled, including the Diaspora policy.
Now that the elections are behind us, we hope that the Diaspora policy will be actualised so that its benefits begin to show.
In expediting the policy, we hope that Zambians living in the Diaspora, for whom the document is intended, will embrace it to ensure that they begin to impact Zambia more, and positively so.
The Diaspora community must read and digest the document because it is meant for them.
The document is expected to highlight strategies Government has to get more Zambians living abroad involved in the development of the country at various levels.
Many Zambians in the Diaspora are keen to play a role in the development of the country but some still have anxieties about how to go about this.  A policy will or should effectively allay these concerns.
Countries such as Ethiopia and Nigeria benefit greatly from their nationals living in other countries, especially in Europe.  The same goes for many other countries.
Zambia, too, is benefiting from its nationals living in other parts of the world but it is virtually impossible to get the full scope of how much money is remitted to Zambia for various reasons.
What is needed is not only knowing how much is remitted, but also getting Zambians in the Diaspora involved in major investments that would boost the economy.
There are hundreds if not thousands of Zambians working in Europe, the United States of America and other foreign countries who should be leveraged.
Zambia should start benefitting from the remittances of its citizens to boost the country’s economy and contribute to its diversification.
Besides remittances, citizens possess a lot of skills and knowledge which they should pass on to the country in the quest for expedited development.
The PF Government is in a hurry to develop the country and needs all the strategies that will contribute towards enhancing its vision.
Those in the Diaspora will bring in more of the much needed foreign exchange and investments this country needs to eradicate poverty.  Let’s tap into this resource.

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