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Words from the Kenyan Diaspora: Day 1

I’m at the Kenyan Investment Conference near Atlanta, Georgia called “the Role of the Kenyan Diaspora in Kenya’s Development”. Day 1 is almost over, and I can say that I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the speakers, the conversations and the conference management.

I’ll post more thoughts later, but here are the most compelling quotes and thoughts from today’s sessions:

“I’ve trained myself not to think of impediments, but to just figure out a way to get things done”

“The goal is to rise above afro-pessimism”

– Dr. Olubayi Olubayi, President of Global Literacy Project

“It doesn good for us (academics) to talk to each only each other at this conference, we must all be talking to the politicians and business leaders here from Kenya.”

– Dr. Fulbert Namwamba, Southern University

“We need to start thinking of creating a voice for Kenyans abroad, it’s time for a parliamentary seat for Kenyans in the diaspora.”

– Mukila Maitha, United Kenyans of Chicago

“3 Kenyans working at the grassroots level are more influential than a foreign organization with $1 million and an office in Geneva.”

– Dr. David Sperling, Strathmore University

“Media is the missing link between Kenyans in the diaspora and Kenya – no longer, Kenya Live TV now bridges that gap.”

– Peter Karanja, Kenya Live TV

Pictures

5 Comments

  1. excellent coverage !it refreshing to see young leaders in the kibaki government.especially at a time when odm propaganda and lies dominate the web.Excellent coverage fair and balanced

  2. Thanks for the coverage. We had a great Forum in Washigton DC as well on Thursday. I didn’t see you here though or you are the group that jetted directly to ATL:-). I only hope Kenyans in diaspora will continue to be engaged positively with such Forums not just this once…..

  3. I think Dr. David Sperling’s comment is by far the most stirring of the soundbytes you offer here. In my brief and limited exposure to Kenyans (primarily here at White African, and through our friendship) I would be inclined to agree.
    As is true with most people, the barrier to the realization of that comment is the 3 Kenyans being unaware of the truth of that statement!
    I hope to see you, Hash, continue to push for the empowerment of grassroots efforts and thus prove that statement true in the areas of technology and African ingenuity.
    Great post!

  4. I have the following questions I would like raised at the next Kenyan Diaspora meeting in USA and I do not know where to send it. I would be grateful if it could be forwarded to the correct forum, for the next available Kenyan government minister to answer.

    QUESTIONS FOR THE KENYAN GOVERNMENT

    By Kenyan professionals working outside Kenya

    What is the Kenya government doing to ensure that the Kenyans abroad return back to the country to develop their motherland, and return their monies and properties acquired abroad to Kenya? This question must be answered in the light of the following three dimensions:

    • According to the current laws passed in our motherland, Kenyans who have been out of their country for more than six years (maybe less) cannot participate in Kenyan parliamentary election as voters. The government can pass a resolution exempting Kenyans working abroad from this requirement.

    • According to the current legislation in our motherland, Kenyans who are overseas and who have purchased vehicles of left hand drive, like are available in most countries such as DR Congo, Angola, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Israel, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, etc cannot take back home their cars. What about tax exemption from other properties acquired while working abroad? The government can pass a resolution and have it gazetted widely, exempting Kenyans working abroad from these requirements.

    • According to our current legislation we have no provision (like in Tanzania) for dual citizenship. This means that our children who are studying outside our country, if they marry (even if they marry fellow Kenyans) and get children who will automatically get foreign citizenships of the countries where they are born cannot be Kenyans and participate in building our nation. This in itself discourages us from thinking of investing in Kenya where our children’s children have no future

  5. Yes Africans need a voice, the voice of the common man because all we hear from Africa is the voice of the rich minority.

    Njeri,
    http://www.semaniseme.com

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