Diaspora reunion set for December

KIGALI - The eighth Diaspora meeting is in preparation ahead of the forthcoming two-day national dialogue conference slated for December 18. According to the Diaspora General Directorate (DGD) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the reunion will focus on how the Diaspora’s organizational and structural framework can be strengthened.
Francis Gatare.
Francis Gatare.

KIGALI - The eighth Diaspora meeting is in preparation ahead of the forthcoming two-day national dialogue conference slated for December 18.

According to the Diaspora General Directorate (DGD) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the reunion will focus on how the Diaspora’s organizational and structural framework can be strengthened.

“It has been noted that our Diaspora lacks strong organizational and structural framework that can enable them to work closely together and interact. This weakness has resulted into absence of leadership as well as communication network between Rwandan Diaspora members and their motherland,” reads part of the December 21-22 meeting’s concept memo seen by The New Times.

The Rwandan Diaspora associations are organised under a non profit umbrella organization, the Rwanda Diaspora Global Network (RDGN), a coalition of millions of Rwandan nationals living in foreign countries.

The meeting will also look into how they can collaborate with investment structures in the country, such as the newly instituted Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

The forthcoming session is expected to streamline how the institution can work with the vital community toward wealth creation in the country.

Francis Gatare, RDB’s Principal Deputy CEO and former director general RIEPA, shed light on this imperative vision in a phone interview early Wednesday.

“The Rwandan Diaspora is a very essential community for Rwanda and we want them to play an important role in every development effort of this country,” he said, stressing that RDB was largely set up to champion the country’s development and identify potential resources to achieve its mandate.

“We want the Diaspora to play a role in shaping the orientation and work through their experience, expertise and knowledge.”

“Here are different people with different professional experiences from countries they live and work in. We want to tap into this potential,” Gatare noted, also drawing attention to the fact that one of RDB’s senior executives recently came from the Diaspora.

Deogratias Harorimana, the DRB Deputy CEO for Human and Institutional Development came from the UK Diaspora.

Gatare also cited their huge potential as possible investors if well harnessed, and the “general ambassadorial job” they can do vis-à-vis image building, apart from the business perspective.

“Some have already started exporting Rwandan products,” he said, mentioning a company in London, the Rwanda Diaspora Investment Group.

“There are others in the US doing coffee business, handicrafts and other products.”

This month’s assembly will also address how the country’s Financial Institutions can facilitate effective Diaspora remittances and how the Capital Markets Advisory Council (CMAC) can help the Diaspora.

CMAC Executive Director Robert Mathu, on phone, Tuesday emphasised that “the biggest advantage” is that the Diaspora will have an opportunity to invest back home.

“They will be able to bring their money and invest in profitable things such as treasury bills instead of their money simply lying, wastefully, in foreign bank accounts,” he noted.

The first ever Convention of the Rwandan Diaspora was held in December 2001 in Kigali.

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