By Isaac Kigozi
World over, the diaspora has been a force that has driven growth and economic development of countries like Ethiopia, Nigeria, Israel and this is reason enough for all governments to develop policies that promote their interests.
The diasporas are best known for contributing to countries’ Growth Domestic Product (GDP) through remittances but their roles are not only limited to this function.
This force acts as an avenue for the transfer of new skills and knowledge, promoters of foreign direct investments and trade, as well as spur entrepreneurship practices, transfers of technology, promotion of research, innovations and investments, tourism and promotion of the country’s interests.
Uganda is on the verge of becoming an economic powerhouse both in East Africa and the entire African continent and this can best be achieved by removing obstacles and creating opportunities for the Diasporas to fully participate in the economic development.
It’s high time the diasporas cease to be spectators but be part of the development of their motherland which is an act of patriotism.
This can be achieved by occupying space that has been created by government allowing the diasporas to dine at the decision-making table and making use of the policies that prioritize their interests.
Uganda has got a number of people in the diaspora that have established themselves in numerous development ventures and influential positions whose direct involvement in the economy can spur growth and development.
These among others include; Daniel Kaluuya the 2021 Oscar award winner as the Best Supporting Actor for his powerful performance in the film Judas and the Black Messiah, Priscilla Anyabu- Ugandan British model and presenter, Ishmail Carzell Wainright an American-Ugandan professional basketball player for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association, Abdulhakka sentamu the co-founder and head of marketing at Ascocars Ltd, the only approved Mercedes specialist in the UK to be co-owned by Ugandans.
The Ugandan government has undertaken to maximize possible gains from migration since one of the ways of encouraging national development is through fostering diaspora contributions. This will go a long way in ensuring that Uganda achieves her dream of becoming an economic powerhouse in the region.
According to reports, Ugandans in the diaspora contribute wholesomely in terms of remittances and in 2019 a sum of 1.4bn Dollars was collected. This has prompted government to come up with more inclusive policies which will help facilitate the inclusion of the Diasporas in promoting economic growth.
H.E President Museveni is hailed for his unwavered commitment in promoting the interests of all diasporas and as such he appointed Amb. Abbey Walusimbi as the Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs (SPA/D).
This office plays a significant role in enticing Ugandan diasporas return home and take part in the growth and development of their country, economically, socially and politically.
The government is set to establish a database that helps locate and identify the skills of the Ugandan Diaspora as well as structuring communication channels with the diaspora to support information from various regions globally tickle into the country and assist in the development of the economic sector in the country.
Finally, the government is set to conduct a coordinated approach to ensure that the various interests of the Diasporas receive the attention they deserve, based on the magnitude of their contributions to the Ugandan economy.
Isaac Kigozi is the Head Trade and Investment in the Office of the President