On 5 and 6 July, the Government of Zimbabwe, with support from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the European Union, convened a high level discussion to develop the country’s 2017–2022 National Diaspora Policy Implementation Action Plan. The Plan will serve as a framework for engaging with the Zimbabwean diaspora worldwide.
Eighty participants took part from government ministries, the UN and the private sector, as well as diaspora representatives and other non-state actors.
The operationalization of the 2016 adopted National Diaspora Policy through a well-defined action plan comes against a background of increasing government acknowledgement of the potential of the Zimbabwean diaspora in contributing towards national development.
The action plan comprises of eight priority areas that relate to policies and legislation, the intra-governmental-diaspora relationship, institutional engagement, diaspora investment, remittances, national socio-economic development, knowing the diaspora and diaspora’s rights.
“The Government recognizes that beyond the remittances from abroad, our diaspora presents social, economic, intellectual and political capital, a pool of knowledge and expertise which must be harnessed for the benefit of the country,” said Judith Kateera, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Macro Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, in a speech read on her behalf at the meeting.
The Government of Zimbabwe has demonstrated commitment to creating institutional structures that promote diaspora engagement in the national development agenda. The adoption of the National Diaspora Policy in July 2016 and the establishment and launch of the Diaspora Directorate in September 2016 are testimony of such commitment. In addition, with support from IOM and the EU, the Government of Zimbabwe conducted in October 2016 initial Zimbabwean Diaspora Engagement meetings in the United Kingdom, Canada and South Africa to move towards building mutual trust between the Government and members of the Zimbabwean diaspora.
“As a partner in migration management, IOM congratulates the Government of Zimbabwe for this important milestone,” said Lily Sanya, IOM Zimbabwe Chief of Mission. “IOM takes this opportunity to also thank the European Union for it generous support to the process. The Organization encourages the Government to establish sound mechanisms to ensure smooth implementation of the action plan and remains committed to providing needed technical support towards operationalization of the action plan.”
IOM’s support is being provided within the framework of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) project, “Promoting Migration Governance in Zimbabwe”. The project seeks to contribute to the establishment of a migration governance framework in Zimbabwe that supports state and non-state actors to manage migration in a migrant- and development-oriented manner. One of the four key results of the project is improved neutral platforms for dialogues and schemes through which Zimbabweans in the diaspora contribute to decision-making and national development.