Govt launch Diaspora Desk

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Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Ambassador Lombe Chalwe says the Zambians in the Diaspora are eager to see the practical aspects of the Foreign Policy materialise that will address challenges such as insufficient information on trade and investment opportunities.

Amb Chalwe said the other challenges they are looking forward to be addressed include limited access to financing, the need for dual citizenship, high cost of remittances, limited access to land and the lack of participation in the democratic processes of the country.

The PS said this in Lusaka during the launch and handover of equipment and furniture for the Diaspora Coordinating Desk in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs.

“You may recall, Ladies and Gentlemen, that Her Honour, Mrs Inonge M. Wina M.P., Vice President of the Republic of Zambia launched the Diaspora Policy in April this year. Following the Policy Launch, relevant line Ministries and institutions met to formulate an Implementation Plan for the Policy, of which some activities have since commenced,” he said.

“The Launch of the Diaspora Coordinating Desk, which will serve as the focal point for Diaspora activities is a testimony of the Government’s commitment to the development of the country through the active inclusion of the Zambian Diaspora around the world.”

He clarified that the Diaspora related matters have been coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs utilising the facilities and human resources of the Ministry.

Amb Lombe indicated that following the need to establish a fully equipped and dedicated Desk, primarily focused on facilitation and coordination of the implementation of the Diaspora Policy by International Organization for Migration (IOM), Zambia’s committed partner, the IOM, as part of its support to this process, has provided equipment and furniture, for which Zambia is truly grateful.

“As we are all aware, the Diaspora is eager to participate in the Development Agenda of the country and the issue of National Documents is paramount. In this regard, I am pleased to mention that some of the equipment and furniture that has been purchased will be shared with the Ministry of Home Affairs, in particular, the Civil Registration Offices, who will also establish Desk that will solely handle the various concerns raised by the Diaspora related to National Documents such as Birth Certificates, National Registration Cards and Passports, amongst others,” said Amb Lombe.

Speaking at the same event, International Organization for Migration Officer – in – Charge Nomagugu Ncube said IOM, is delighted that the Zambian Government recognizes the significant contribution of the Zambian diaspora to national development as reflected in the Seventh National Development Plan and the Zambia Diaspora Policy.

“Indeed, in recent years, the international community has increasingly recognized the immense contribution that diaspora or transnational communities make to the development of their countries of origin and destination. In the global development discourse, migration, diaspora and remittances feature quite prominently in both the SDGs (Target 10.7, on enhancing policy formulation and implementation to derive well managed migration; and GCM objectives 19 and 20 on diaspora engagement and remittances respectively,” she said.

“IOM’s experience has shown that if nurtured and encouraged, through supportive and enabling policy, institutional and programmatic interventions, the Diaspora can have a significant role in the development of their home countries through their human, social, economic and cultural capital. Countries like the Philippines, India, Mexico, China, Morocco, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Ghana, which have close links with their Diaspora, have benefited significantly from their nationals abroad.”

Ms Ncube added that IOM is delighted to be partnering with the Zambian Government in supporting the establishment of a Diaspora Coordination Desk to provide Government leadership and ensure that the coordination of diaspora engagement and participation is befittingly institutionalized, centrally coordinated and systematically and sustainably pursued.

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