Plan to offer incentives to diaspora underway The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has engaged the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to ensure the necessary instruments are put in place, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Frederick Shava, has said.

Farirai Machivenyika-Senior Reporter

EFFORTS are underway to craft instruments that provide incentives for the country’s diaspora community to invest back home without hindrances and in a manner that allows them to make a profit.

In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has engaged the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to ensure the necessary instruments are put in place, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Frederick Shava, has said.

He was speaking when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade to discuss the impact of the country’s foreign policy on the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

In his inaugural Monetary Policy Statement in April, RBZ Governor Dr John Mushayavanhu said diaspora remittances, through official channels, registered a 16 percent increase to US$1, 873 billion last year, from US$1,617 billion received during the same period in 2022.

Amb Shava said there were possibilities for the figure to rise beyond the US$1, 873 billion sent last year, if investment opportunities were availed to Zimbabweans living abroad.

“I was talking to the Governor of the RBZ about the diaspora community and I was urging that maybe, the RBZ should devise some investment instruments where the diaspora can put in their money, instead of sending directly to relatives. 

“They can put their money in some kind of bond facility where diaspora people can deposit their money and only the interest will then become available to their families. 

“That way, maybe, the contribution by the diaspora to GDP will be much larger than what we are experiencing at the moment and right now, I can say that we are getting about US$2 billion per annum and I think it can be much more than that if there are instruments which can be used which are attractive,” said Amb Shava. 

Countries such as the Philippines receive approximately US$37 billion as a contribution to their GDP from their diaspora community. 

Amb Shava said the diaspora do not have to physically come to Zimbabwe to contribute to national development, but they can “do it from wherever they are”. 

“Our missions abroad are good locations and places for the diaspora where they can interact with our ambassadors and get feedback on what’s going on at home,” he said.

Amb Shava said President Mnangagwa, as the country’s Chief Diplomat, has also taken the opportunity during his foreign travels to engage Zimbabweans living abroad on opportunities available in the country.

Early this year, the Foreign Affairs Ministry hosted the Second Diaspora Investment Conference in line with the dictates of the NDS1, which promotes the role of Zimbabwe’s Diaspora in national development. 

The diaspora community called on Government to facilitate their investment in areas such as mining, agriculture, tourism and infrastructure development, among others.

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