A high-powered delegation of Diaspora County 48 Kenya and Diaspora Insurance jetted into the country during the week of May 14th for high-level discussions with the Kenyan government officials to discuss critical issues affecting Kenyans in the diaspora.
Diaspora County 48 is an umbrella organisation that represents all Kenyans in the diaspora and is chaired by Mr Bernard Kavyu. The organization aims to bring together the various diaspora associations representing Kenyans across the diaspora under one umbrella organization to ensure coordination between the Kenyan government and the diaspora in order to optimize the relationship between Kenya and her diaspora.
Diaspora Insurance, a global insurance company that provides bespoke insurance products to Africans in the diaspora was represented by Dr Sibert Mandega, its Executive Director. The delegation was hosted by senior government officials including the Principal Secretary for the State Department for Diaspora Affairs within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rosaline Njogu at her offices in Nairobi.
Matters of importance include issues concerning Kenyans living abroad, but also ways in which Kenyans in diaspora can contribute to society in Kenya in matters across the board from the economy, education, healthcare, culture, technology, entertainment as well as politics.
The delegation led by Diaspora County48 Kenya Chairman Bernard Kavyu and Dr Sibert Mandega started arriving in Kenya on May 14th 2023 and had their meeting at the Best Western Meridian Hotel in Nairobi to lay out the week’s itinerary. Part of the Diaspora County 48 delegation included regional representatives including, Elizabeth Mökkönen – Global Operations Secretary (Finland), David Kitonga – North America Regional Coordinator (USA), and Karanja Gaçuça – USA & Media Relations, Wycliffe Adero – Regional Coordinator Middle East (Qatar), Betty Mahugu – Africa Regional Coordinator (Rwanda), Wycliffe Ojijo – Tanzania, Joyce Mutisya – Qatar, Stephen Kiilu – Ghana, Abby Matoro — Sweden and David Obado – at headquarters in Kenya. The delegation was later joined by Julius Isaac Mulae – UK and Chris Maghas – USA.
On Tuesday May 16th, the delegation met with Roseline Njogu, Principal Secretary, State Department for Diaspora Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs. Chairman Bernard Kavyu highlighted the key themes that formed part of the discussions including the formal recognition of Diaspora County48 Kenya by the Kenyan government as a strategic service provider, the adoption and endorsement of the Diaspora Insurance Evacuation and Repatriation Policy Cover for all Kenyan emigrants and the mandate for oversight of the recruitment agencies in Kenya and abroad to protect Kenyan citizens. Both parties discussed the big challenges facing the Kenyan diaspora globally and the need for a smart working partnership between the government and the Diaspora County 48 Kenya. The regional representatives of Diaspora County 48 Kenya narrated the innumerable stories of Kenyans stranded in the diaspora or those who die in the diaspora and families can not afford to repatriate their bodies. In many circumstances, community leaders within the Diaspora County 48 have dealt with the Kenyan government to evacuate these stranded Kenyans back home. The argument from Diaspora County 48 is that there is a need for an insurance policy that will help stranded Kenyans in the diaspora or those that die in the diaspora. This means that the government will not be burdened in evacuating these stranded nationals. They have approached Diaspora Insurance to create a bespoke product to help evacuate stranded Kenyans or provide temporary safe places in the diaspora. There are several reasons why Diaspora Insurance has been chosen as the preferred partner. They have a long track record in providing excellent services to the African diasporas through their bespoke products including their household name Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan. Diaspora Insurance is headquartered in the United Kingdom and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This demonstrates their commitment to treating customers fairly and providing value for money to their clients. Their policies are underwritten in the major hard currencies which maintain value in the long term. PS Njogu acknowledged that the diaspora and the Kenyan government need such a sustainable solution. She said that funeral cash cover and the evacuation policy are products whose time has come.
Diaspora County 48 isn’t just coming with complaints, but rather with solutions to identified problems but additionally, a framework to explore new problems and resources to deal with them. To that end, County48 Kenya is offering to become a service partner for the State Department for Diaspora Affairs, utilising the existing, and very expansive, robust and effective structure of serving Kenyans in diaspora. Diaspora County48 is partnering with Diaspora Insurance and is offering Kenyans the opportunity to be insured and protected in the event of distress or death requiring evacuation and/or repatriation.
Diaspora County48 is in a position to provide officials in Kenya with capacity to provide oversight of the all the agents involved in recruitment of Kenyan migrant workers and students seeking to work or study abroad and is seeking to partner with government to that end. Having a financial partner such as Diaspora Insurance also places County48 in a unique position of experience to be at the forefront of establishing a County48 Kenya Bank in Kenya to facilitate secure and reliable Kenyan diaspora investments back home.
Dr Mandega and Mr Kavyu were interviewed by O’Brien Kimani on his popular TV show called Business Check on KBC on the 17th of May 2023. They covered a wide range of issues affecting the Kenyan diasporas and how the Kenyan diasporas can actively participate in the Kenyan society including its politics. Diaspora County 48 highlighted the need for official recognition of the diaspora by the government This is notwithstanding that the diaspora contributes immensely to Kenya’s economy through their remittances. Cumulative remittances into Kenya for the 12 months to January 2023 were about US$4 billion according to The Kenyan Wall Street compared to US$3.8 billion over the same time period a year ago, representing an increase of 6.9%. This means that remittances are now the biggest earner of foreign currency in Kenya. The engaging interview can be accessed at this link https://youtu.be/5x9dk1PalDA
Networking events sponsored by Diaspora Insurance and hosted by County48 delegates included a trip to Tala in County 16, Machakos, where the delegation was hosted at the palatial home of USA chairman, David Kitonga on Wednesday, May 17th as well as to Kitengela on Friday, May 19th where the delegation was hosted at the home of Abby Matoro the Sweden representative.
This visit demonstrates that a lot can be done for the African diasporas globally and home economies if the African governments collaborate with the diaspora organisations and financial institutions like Diaspora Insurance.
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