DUAL citizenship, political and economic participation will be central in the national consultative forum on the Diaspora Policy which will be held next week, Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba has said.
Mr Kalaba said the national consultative forum has been convened because of Government’s recognition of the potential of the Zambian diaspora in the development of the country.
“Government has taken steps towards engaging Zambians in the diaspora who have demonstrated great interest in contributing to national development by investing in the various sectors of the economy,” he said.
President Lungu has directed that the Diaspora Policy should be put in place before the end of this year and the Ministry of Foreign affairs has Diaspora Associations, Parliamentarians, Non-Governmental Organisations, the International Organisation for Migration and the private sector to the consultative forum.
Mr Kalaba said the information that would be gathered at the forum would be used in the formulation of the Diaspora Policy.
“Government has made several attempts in the past to provide a framework to engage Zambians in the Diaspora as well as to address the plight of this constituency of Zambians but these efforts have been somewhat piecemeal. It is in this regard, that the Patriotic Front Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs embarked on the process of formulating the Diaspora Policy in a comprehensive manner and with utmost resolve,” Mr Kalaba said. The roadmap to the formation of a policy document has so far involved two stages with the third being next week’s national consultative forum.
In the first stage, Government undertook study tours to countries within the continent which had widespread experience in the Diaspora Policy formulation such as Ghana and Kenya. In the second stage, Government undertook tours to selected countries with the large numbers of Zambian populations such as United Kingdom and the United States of America.
“Discussion regarding the policy will focus on many areas including dual citizenship, political participation, participation in the economic development of the country and remittances,” Mr Kalaba said.
He urged Zambians to contribute to the formulation of the diaspora policy by highlighting ways and strategies to encourage diaspora participation in the development of the country.