A FIRST FOR ZAMBIA – THE DIASPORA POLICY
Background to the Policy
At the beginning of April, the government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, finally officially launched Zambia’s first ever Diaspora Policy! This policy has been a long time in the making. Going as far back as 2009, recommendations were made to establish mechanisms for the diaspora to participate in national development. An extensive diaspora survey was carried out in 2011 and 2015 that culminated in a consultative forum later that year.
The Launch Event
The result was finally a launch that took place last month, officiated by the Vice President, Mrs Inonge Wina, who called it “a new chapter allowing all Zambians abroad to participate in national development”. This was emphasized by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Joseph Malanji who said the government intends to actively involve the diasporans in the developmental agenda for Zambia. He concluded that sustainable growth can only be achieved with participation of all Zambians citizens regardless of where they reside.
The launch event was well attended by Zambians from all over the globe – Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, USA, UK, China, India, South Korea, France, Belgium and the UK! We were so proud that our former director Tanya Fooks gave the vote of thanks.
Her remarks were heartwarming as she stated that although she became a British citizen due to her parents’ choices, her heart has always been firmly Zambian. She pointed out that although Zambians abroad want to build their wealth in their country of residence, their focus is to convert that wealth to holding assets in Zambia. I was particularly impressed that the Permanent Secretary Amb. Chalwe Lombe took time after the event to meet with all members of the diaspora that had attended the event and answered their questions and grievances. More importantly, he strongly urged the group to take action to bring the policy alive in a tangible way.
What it means for you
The Diaspora Policy has a wide range of objectives. I am most interested in the objective that aims to improve access to land by the Zambian diaspora. In this regard, government shall endeavor to:
- Provide information on land availability and acquisition procedures
- Ensure local councils avail the Zambian diaspora a chance to apply for land through an online portal
- Use ICT to make land acquisition easier
- Designate Zambian missions to facilitate the processing of land acquisition by the diaspora
- Ensure local councils avail the Zambian diaspora a chance to apply for land
This is certainly an ambitious objective and if properly implemented will change the lives of many Zambians abroad! Look out for our Diaspora Policy video soon that will be posted on our YouTube channel!