Diaspora remittances surge 18% Q1, buoyed by Government engagement Foreign Affairs and International Trade Deputy Minister, Sheila Chikomo

Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau

GOVERNMENT’S ongoing engagement with its citizens in the diaspora is yielding positive results, with remittances from Zimbabweans abroad increasing by 18 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2023, according to a senior Government official.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Sheila Chikomo, highlighted this achievement while officiating at the ongoing Matabeleland South Hybridge Investment Conference in Beitbridge on Friday. The event, which attracted nearly 400 stakeholders from the diaspora and locals ran under the theme “Matabeleland South Province – Unlocking New Investment Frontiers through Diaspora Community Engagement”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is hosting the programme, aligning it with the country’s devolution agenda to transform provinces into dynamic economic hubs that attract investments.

As part of this initiative, the event is being held in a hybrid format, allowing for both physical and virtual participation by the esteemed Zimbabwean diaspora community and stakeholders in various investment sectors.

Government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) tasked with enhancing diaspora participation in national development are also attending the conference.

“The adoption of the Whole of Government Approach, which resulted in the establishment of a Working Party of Senior Officials on Diaspora Engagement to handle Diaspora enquiries, has witnessed good progress in the resolution of Diaspora issues,” said Deputy Minister Chikomo.

“The Working Party is mandated to coordinate and look into a cocktail of strategies that advance the interests of the Diaspora in the socio-economic development of the country. It would be remiss of me, if I fail to acknowledge the ever-growing contribution of our Diaspora to the country’s socio-economic development through social and financial remittances.

“You may wish to note that financial remittances for the year 2024 are on course to surpass the US$1,8 billion received in 2023, denoting an increase of 18 percent of remittances realised during the first quarter of 2024, amounting to US$494 million compared with US$420 million received during the same period last year”.

The Deputy Minister urged Zimbabweans in the diaspora to invest back home in productive sectors, creating sustainable projects that benefit families. Highlighting the Government’s commitment to economic development, she mentioned various strategies, including the introduction of the new gold-backed currency, the Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG), designed to promote stability and growth.

“Government has been hailed by international organisations including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which observed that the ZiG official exchange rate remained largely stable since its launch, bringing an end to macroeconomic instability,” said Deputy Minister Chikomo.

“The Second Republic is determined to attain its Vision of becoming an Upper Middle-Income Society by 2030 and it is attainable through synergies with you our Diaspora who have been exposed to modern technology and amassed expertise in a number of specialties.

“The Second Republic appreciates the fact that its Diaspora constituency has special needs as well as demands and in this regard, the new Policy provides a basis to promote Government–Diaspora synergies for collective success in achieving the country’s Vision”. This also dovetails with His Excellency, the President, Dr E.D. Mnangagwa’s mantra, “Nyika Inovakwa, Igotongwa, Igonamatirwa neVene Vayo”, “Ilizwe Lakhiwa, Libuswe, Likhulekelwe ngaBanikazi Balo.”

Deputy Minister Chikomo highlighted the Government’s interest in partnering with the diaspora and other citizens to drive national development. She welcomed all initiatives that contribute to building Zimbabwe, including diaspora investment, trade and tourism promotion, community development projects, philanthropic work, knowledge and skills transfer and remittance mobilisation for productive endeavours.

“In order to realise maximum benefits and impact of investments, Government is encouraging the formation and registration of Diaspora Associations through Zimbabwean Embassies in your Countries of Destination (CoD), as there is strength in numbers and better flow of useful information,” said Deputy Minister Chikomo.

“The Second Republic under the astute leadership of His Excellency, the President, Dr ED Mnangagwa is more than ready to work with all development-oriented and proudly Zimbabwean citizens who are willing to stand for their country.”

Deputy Minister Chikomo stressed the importance of “Know Your Diaspora” profiling, a prerequisite for effectively integrating them into national development programmes. This initiative allows the Government to understand the demographics, locations and concerns of Zimbabweans abroad leading to improved services and support.

She acknowledged the valuable role of international partners like the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in collaborating on these efforts.

Three successful mapping and profiling surveys have already been conducted with IOM’s support, focusing on Zimbabwean diaspora communities in the United Kingdom, the United States and South Africa.

“The exercise was an important step towards informing Government of the concentration of the Diaspora in those countries. We look forward to continued partnership with the IOM to enable us to extend coverage of the surveys,” she said.

Deputy Minister Chikomo commended members of the Zimbabwean diaspora community for their participation in the investment conference, both virtually from across the globe and in person here in Beitbridge. This overwhelming response signifies their enduring solidarity with Zimbabwe and its Vision 2030.

“Let me reiterate that the Second Republic is driven by inclusivity hence we tenaciously believe in moving together in the spirit of leaving “No Place and No One Behind,” added Deputy Minister Chikomo.

The Provincial Diaspora Conference came after the Second Annual National Diaspora Investment Conference and Homecoming event held in April this year in Masvingo where a number of issues were raised.


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