Kenya is set to host the first Africa Diaspora Symposium in Nairobi from December 8 to 10 this year, a forum that is envisioned to provide an opportunity for dialogue, reflection and planning for a post-pandemic Africa.
A key area of discussion will be the deepening of the involvement of the 6th Region, African diaspora via co-investment with African businesses and governments in sectors of healthcare, manufacturing, infrastructure, agro-processing, tourism, import-export, digital economy and arts, among others.
In a press statement to newsrooms, the Kenya Diaspora Alliance Global Chairman Dr Shem Ochuodho said the symposium comes at a time when Kenyans abroad recorded a 21.4 per cent rise in cash sent into the country in the month of September, posting a continued recovery from the global economic fallout caused by coronavirus.
He said the symposium whose theme is ‘Leveraging Diaspora Resources for Africa’s Economic Recovery Post-Covid’ will take place alongside the 7th annual Kenya Diaspora Homecoming Convention- KDHC2020 at the Ole Sereni Hotel.
The event which will draw participants across the world, comes at an opportune time as the diaspora seems to be defying economic hardships experienced through the year to keep sending money home,” said Ochuodho.
Data from the Central Bank of Kenya recorded that total inflows in the 12 months to September stood at Sh322.8 billion compared to Sh303.1 billion in the 12 months to September 2019.
This was a record inflow, a staggering performance by a sector that most policy makers and analysts had predicted would decline while the World Bank projected that remittance flows to low and middle-income countries were expected to drop by around 20 per cent to Sh47.6 trillion, from Sh59.2 trillion in 2019.
According to the World Bank, the Covid-19 pandemic consistent diaspora remittances to the continent amounted to $ 80 billion, of which $48 billion were attributed to sub-Saharan Africa remittances last year.
He said the money collected is an increase of more than half a billion dollars compared to 2018 where Ghana and Kenya were ranked a distant second and third in the region, with Sh374 billion and Sh 299 billion received, respectively.
“Over 70 per cent of the diaspora inflows are from North America and Europe. In June, about Sh30 billion came into Kenya,” he added and noted that Nigeria still remains the largest recipient of remittances in sub-Saharan Africa and the sixth-largest beneficiary among low-to middle-income countries, with an estimated Sh2.5 trillion received in 2019.
The Nairobi event will be hosted by the Africa Diaspora Alliance under the aegis of the Kenya Diaspora Alliance and a host of other leading historical and contemporary transnational diaspora federations from the Caribbean, Africa, America, Nigeria, South Africa and Libya among others.
“Subject to the Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 protocol, the event shall be a hybrid, with about 200 high profile guest speakers and participants- comprising of industry experts, policy makers and government officials drawn from across the continent, physically attending at Ole Sereni, while the rest will be participating virtually,” said Dr Ochuodho.
By Bernadette Khaduli