Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Sent: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 10:53 AM

Good People,

While best practices are needed by the Diaspora people organizing how to engage in diaspora investing
in Africa, social interests for interactives and awareness produces greater impacts for markets and policies

Africa/Kenyan Diaspora is a Constituency that is unique within its 3 dimensional interests thus:

1) The Social
2) The Political
3) The Economic

One is free to involve in all or choose one or two according to interest though collectively, they all are basic
fundamental principle driver for Economic development ingredient and substance.  To succeed, a successful
leader must navigate in all the three to apply the balance needed for GDP success story to be realized; the
case-scenario which 50 years down the line, failed Kenya with the whole of Africa.

The International Trade and Local business of any Country must balance within an underscore of taxes that
makes a country balance within its considered investments.   Diaspora therefore, is capable of providing that
investment easily compared with the Remmitances that have been quantified lately by the World Bank. 

Drive to tap Diaspora Investment must be every African Leaders headache. 

It follows with African Diaspora legitimacy in connection with Funding Source and the Global Marketplace, if
it is sustainable and holding its promise.  It is here where Transparency is crucial which is why Social, Political
and Economic prospects must correspond with facts as is on the ground.

Town Hall Meeting is crucial where Diaspora as Stakeholders in Africa have an opportunity for a hearing and
where an organized Liason Government Office for Diaspora Department matters are channeled through to the
County Level is Represented at the Embassy.

To avoid hijacking and while considering that Diaspora people's interest vary from individual, to organizations
to Faith Based and Students, it is logical that components of thinking are diversified and proposals comes in
different sizes and shapes of need.  To avoid short-changing and mismanagement, Diaspora connection to
Country's National interest with those of its Local-based have been found to be with intensity and flactuates to
meet diversity of need; a case where Partnership Cooperation for development vary in their respective areas. 

In a free-flow of undertaking to make the best of Human Resource and potential, Devolve interest in the Counties
provides the best National Outlook for Diaspora Investment in Kenya/Africa and it is here where small farmers for
example are not made slaves of big farm owners, but emerges as a competitive edge that expels monopoly.

Progressive Development with Diaspora Initiatives means:

a) People comes first
b) Conservation values to be instilled through local schools etc.,
c) Environmental Protection by the local communities engagement
d) Protection, Preserving and Caring for the Mother Earth and Nature
to prevent destruction of ecosystem, but to engage in nurturing the same

It follows other initiatives such as the African Diaspora Marketplace, whose second edition was launched recently
by global payment service provider, Western Union, and the United States Agency for International Development.
It targets supporting US-based African diaspora entrepreneurs with innovative and high-impact ideas for start-ups
and established businesses in sub-Saharan Africa.

Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson
Executive Director
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,

Best Practices for Diaspora Organizations

At the University of London’s Center of African Studies we recently surveyed African diaspora organizations in order to identify a list of commonly accepted good practices in diaspora development initiatives and to collect specific examples of successful projects implemented by the diasporas. Fifty-five European-based African diaspora organizations participated in our study; most of these organizations are located in France, Belgium, or Germany, though we also had participation from groups in Spain, Lithuania, Malta, Switzerland, and Italy.
Although all of these organizations are working to give back to their homelands, they are immensely diverse in terms of their size and scope, initiatives, perceptions of development, capacity or ability to access resources, and the challenges they face. Despite these differences, however, all of the diaspora organizations we surveyed seemed to agree on the key factors that contribute to the successful outcome of a project. Here, I would like to discuss some of these factors and why they are important.
Transparency emerged as a strong element of good practice. That the vast majority of respondents (almost 98 percent) were open to disclosing information about their projects and experiences is an important data in itself. Transparency as a value is reflected also in the fact that most surveyed organizations are legally registered entities and select their management structure by majority vote or on a meritocratic basis.
Most respondents indicated good planning and strong leadership as critical to leading successful projects. For example, one person that we interviewed believed that showing strong organizational skills and professionalism was decisive in order to overcome the initial skepticism of those governmental and non-governmental institutions approached for funding.
Funding is another major theme: access to different sources of funding, difficulties in accessing funding, or the way financial resources are managed, are indicative of good practices and affect organizations and individuals’ choices and strategies. Because of limited resources, associations cannot always afford to employ professional full-time staff or keep their projects afloat.
One of the most interesting findings to come out of the study is the striking difference in the sources of funding for organizations that are part of Anglophone versus the Francophone diasporas (in most cases, the Anglophone diaspora organizations were based in English-speaking countries and Francophone diaspora organizations were based in French-speaking countries). We found that Francophone associations are more likely to fund their projects through donations from their individual members (including membership fees). In contrast, we found that most of Anglophone diaspora organizations’ funding came from foundation grants. However, for both groups, public funding constitutes their second most important revenue source. International NGOs are important funders for Anglophone diaspora organizations, but less so for the Francophone.
While more research is needed to explain this data, it seems that diaspora organizations are moving beyond remittances to fund development projects. Also, a different attitude is emerging among governmental institutions, both in the countries of residence and of origin, which appear as the main funding agency in sixteen out of the thirty-six case studies submitted.
The data highlighted also the importance and the complexities of partnerships, both in the countries where projects are implemented and in the European country of residence. Partnerships are recognized as challenging but also crucial for meeting the development objectives. Enhancing the organizations’ capacity to network and to engage in mutually beneficial collaborations is thus critical to their long-term success.
This study suggests that diaspora associations may be growing more sophisticated in their organizational structure, their fundraising mechanisms, and their implementation or delivery of support. Promoting strong links between diaspora and development is as much about capacity building and associations learning from one another as it is channeling more funding into development activities.
This research was conducted as part of a broader project promoted by the Africa-Europe Platform Partner Organization (AE)—a network of Europe-based African diaspora organizations—and supported by the European Union. When the final study is released, it will be available through AE’s research page.
About the Author: Dr. Sebastiana A. Etzo earned a PhD in African studies from the Universit√† degli Studi di Napoli L’Orientale in Italy. She currently works at the Centre of African Studies at SOAS, University of London. She also pursues independent research, studying African diaspora populations, African cities, and issues of citizenship and democracy in relation to changes in the labor market.
The contents of this blog are the sole responsibility of the author and its ideas and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of International diaspora Engagement Alliance, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Migration Policy Institute, or any of their partners.


Investing in Development

This Entity was posted on 21 November, 2012 by Mimi Alemayehou.        

A few years ago, the word “diaspora,” when applied to Africa, tended to be in the context of a cultural or a political connection.  The last several years however have increasingly put “diaspora” and “economic growth” in the same sentence.  Several studies by the World Bank, McKinsey and others document the dramatic contribution of remittances to African economies by the African diaspora.
From my standpoint, this has been particularly interesting for the Overseas Private Investment Company (OPIC) in that while Africa has been a priority region for OPIC for many years, the African diaspora are now increasingly becoming an important part of our client base.
A little background on OPIC for those of you not familiar with the institution.  OPIC is the U.S. government’s development finance institution; we have been around for over 40 years.  OPIC has been active in Africa since the early 1970s and has invested almost $7 billion.  We currently have over $2.4 billion in our exposure in sub-Saharan Africa.
To achieve all of this, we at OPIC use a number of tools including debt financing, political risk insurance, and support to investment funds.
OPIC is self sustaining, we make money and do not cost any money to the U.S. taxpayer!  We do good while making money, how about that?
Now, to the topic of discussion for this panel:  can the diaspora provide a sustainable source of financing?
First I think it’s good to clarify that the diaspora investment can complement other Foreign Direct Investment and official ODA.
There are a few reasons why the African diaspora is becoming an important class of investors and important partners for us at OPIC.
They have a better understanding of the risk assessment capability of their country, which makes them less risk averse to the opportunities that appear very risky to the average investor. Recently we met with a very enthusiastic group of Tunisian professionals in the U.S. who are eager to invest in the new Tunisia, definitely ahead of others.
Their personal attachment and commitment to their country of origin turns them into investors with a longer-term outlook, which often is critical, particularly in infrastructure.  Everyone is aware of Celtel’s and Mohammed Ibrahim’s success by investing early in African mobile technology when most others did not think Africans could really afford cell phones.
Once the investment has been made, the diaspora investors have a much easier time developing local relationships and reflexes that are essential to the long-term success of the investment.
In situations where the project faces great difficulties, diaspora investors generally show greater tenacity and resilience.
Don’t get me wrong; we have had lots of success with non-diaspora U.S. investors in Africa and elsewhere.
It is also important to also talk about some of the reasons why the African diaspora are increasingly becoming investors in the continent.
I am sure the issue of “brain gain” must have been discussed sometime in earlier sessions because I think what we have witnessed the last couple of years is incredible.  The number of African professionals moving back to the continent to set up shop is huge and has greatly contributed to the continent’s development efforts.  My own brother moved back a few years ago.  The Director of HR at OPIC retired soon after I got there and moved to his home country of Sierra Leone.
There have also been a lot of economic reforms in most countries on the African continent the last decade that has made investing in the continent very attractive.   Some of the earlier private equity funds in Africa have had very successful exits.
There is no region that is experiencing the kind of growth that Africa is experiencing.  Returns on investment in Africa are among the highest if not the highest.  Go to any African city, it is a construction site.
As I mentioned earlier, OPIC is increasingly doing business with members of the African diaspora and the African diaspora are becoming a very important partner for us.  I thought I would give you a few examples of recent projects:
In March 2011, OPIC approved $250 million in political risk insurance to Belstar Development.  Belstar was established by a member of the Ghanaian diaspora to provide medical equipment, services and infrastructure to benefit up to 100 hospitals throughout all the 10 administrative regions of Ghana.
The only investment OPIC currently has in its exposure in Ethiopia is with an Ethiopian-American who moved back to Ethiopia and with OPIC’s financing opened a pharmaceutical plant.
We have supported several Nigerian-Americans who are managing private equity funds and are investing not only in Nigeria but also throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
At OPIC, we are bullish on the African continent.  There are a few things that we have done recently in order to leverage the entrepreneurial spirit of the Diaspora.
OPIC is currently working with the State Department under the Secretary’s International diaspora Engagement Alliance (IDEA) to spur diaspora entrepreneurship in Latin America and Caribbean and potentially in the MENA region.
Just like the U.S. Small Business Administration, in order to qualify as a “U.S.“ investor at OPIC, permanent residents (green card holders) are considered “U.S.,” which will allow more of the diaspora tap into our tools in support of their investment.
Let me end by saying that OPIC will be there as a partner to the diaspora investing in Africa.  Please come and see us.  Thank you.
About the Author: Mimi Alemayehou is the Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Ms. Alemayehou was nominated for her post by President Obama on March 10, 2010 and confirmed unanimously by the full Senate on September 16, 2010. Previously, Ms. Alemayehou served as the United States Executive Director at the African Development Bank where she was responsible for executing Board decisions on behalf of the United States government. Ms. Alemayehou served as the most senior US Treasury official in Africa and was instrumental in pushing for reforms to make the Bank more transparent and to engage more broadly with outside stakeholders.
This blog was originally posted on the OPIC websiteThe contents of this blog are the sole responsibility of the author and its ideas and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of International diaspora Engagement Alliance, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Migration Policy Institute, or any of their partners.

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Sent: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 1:53 AM

Well-said Ochwangi, very well-said.

On Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 11:44 PM, David ochwangi <> wrote:
The first year anniversary of the Jubilee government is around the corner. The year 2013 was dramatic in many respects- good and bad; new elections and a new administration under a new constitution, ICC prosecutions, bombings, labor strikes, spike in crimes, a civil war in South Sudan, etc. It is almost a year since the President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto were elected in an overcast of both domestic and international cynicism. Despite the odds and the encumbrances that have dogged them, primarily the ICC and menacing insecurity not the least of which are the terrorist assaults on the nation, the Kenyatta Administration has held its own.
Let’s give credit where credit is due and in this case to President Kenyatta personally for conducting himself with poise, humility and calmness that has endeared many Kenyans to him. I’m not suggesting that the Kenyatta Administration has magically transformed Kenya, far from it. Some of these things take a while to manifest and we understand, particularly those of us who support this president and so as we begin 2014, perhaps we should take inventory of the administration’s performance and do a candid introspection if only to have a better year 2014 and beyond. We begin with the tone set at the top by the President and those in command. On this the jury is still out insofar as the President’s policy positions, appointments and announcements made by those in his inner circle, after all he is the president and the buck stops with him.
For the record, I am one of the Millions who supported President Kenyatta’s bid for president and I am very happy that he won notwithstanding the overwhelming odds and obstacles against him not the least of which are the International Criminal Court charges. Kenyans repudiated the ICC at the ballot box primarily because the court’s agenda turned into a political ploy to impose a West handpicked regime as opposed to seeking justice for the PEV victims. Even after winning, the court has relentlessly pursued the President and his Deputy William Ruto but thanks to the efforts of many Kenyans and international friends, including my own I may add, sanity appears to prevail. The cloud that has hung over the President and encumbered his ability to govern may be dissipating, finally.
That said, all Kenyans expect their government to serve them equally and to prioritize their interests and for the civil and uniformed servants to subordinate their own for the greater good of the country and therefore the President deserves an honest assessment devoid of the inner circle politics that usually keeps him in a virtual bubble while things get out of hand.
In this installment, a first of analytic series of the Kenyatta administration, I start with that which is dear and close to me- the Diaspora- naturally of course. If you had an opportunity to sit across the table with President Kenyatta, what would you tell him? I am simulating a mock interview with the president and telling him directly and candidly what I think of his relationships with the Diaspora and the many other issues to follow; the good, the bad and the ugly- no sugarcoating:

President Kenyatta: What do you think of my administration’s handling of the Diaspora and what can we improve on?
David Ochwangi:  I am glad you asked Mr. President. This is dear and close to my heart as you can imagine because I am a part of the Diaspora and it is one area our patience is running thin. To your first question, perhaps we should start with what your Director for Diaspora Affairs, Dennis Itumbi, thinks of that. Your administration did poorly last year regarding the Diaspora. Just several weeks ago, after a spirited war of words on the Social media (Facebook) with the Diaspora including yours truly, Itumbi put up a brave fight for himself and your administration- essentially claiming that he and the administration had done a good job thus far with respect to the Diaspora. And our answer was emphatic No, no, no no- Mr. President- what Itumbi postulated was factually incorrect. In fact if I were to grade the administration’s performance on this issue, it would be an “F” as in Fail. What concerns me and most of us in the Diaspora is that a) Itumbi’s posturing about the Diaspora may actually reflect your own position and b) if indeed what he stated is your position as President, then clearly there is considerable disconnect between the Administration and the Diaspora and worse yet there appears to be nothing being done to bridge the gap. That is a big problem; the administration’s model is deficient and is not working. To his credit, Mr. Itumbi realized that he was wrong and did a quick 180 and admitted that the administration had failed the Diaspora in 2013; he tendered an apology on the same media and promised of great things in the works for the Diaspora coming up shortly. That was in early January 2014, we have not heard from or of him on this issue again notwithstanding the hundreds of his posts on everything in the book, including pastor’s moments and news reports, but the Diaspora. We are not holding our breaths for that moment but suffice to say we are frustrated in this area Mr. President and it is up to you to fix the problem.
I am not trying to pile on Mr. Itumbi but I remember back when he was appointed and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga admonished the administration with respect to his appointment, he is quoted as saying, The Kind of character who has been appointed by the Government, I don’t think has the kind of connection and capacity to bring in the Diaspora together….”.  Odinga further said that Itumbi’s appointment was, “a clear indication that the government was not treating the diaspora with the seriousness it deserved.”  Mr. President I would like you to hear from me as someone who supports you in more ways than I can reveal here, and in fairness to Mr. Raila Odinga, as it turns out, he was correct. The truth is Mr. President, Itumbi’s current role as Director for Diaspora Affairs, for all intents and purposes, is superficial and it is not serving the Diaspora’s interests much less your own.
I don’t know Itumbi from Adam but I like him; he comes across as grounded and religious; majority of his posts reflect a God fearing guy and I have already told him that he and I are on the same team- your team, but that is not an excuse for mediocrity. Obviously he has a good track record as a blogger but for our purposes in the Diaspora, we don’t see the value or usefulness this background/ activities add to our interests. Frankly I think that has he been thrust into a difficult position that he clearly neither understands nor knows much about and that perhaps out of abundant exuberance he felt or even still feels he can handle but Itumbi has no demonstrable grasp of the Diaspora. None whatsoever! At one point when responding to PM Odinga’s criticism, he said that he reports to a guy who used to live in the Diaspora and therefore that issue is “sorted out”!! Really? Just simple like that?! See Mr. President that is the kind of stuff that rubs Diaspora folks the wrong way, it sends us the message that the administration doesn’t take the Diaspora seriously and that it only pays lip service and this appointment was a token just for show.  Frankly it makes former Prime Minister Raila Odinga look like a seasoned expert on Diaspora affairs.
No framework or platform has been set up engage with the Diaspora, not a single stakeholders’ meeting, not a single town hall meeting despite numerous overtures and opportunities to do so, just nothing but sporadic social media posts. Not even a Diaspora page much less a webpage with basic information like Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), just nothing.
By his admission in a TV interview in December, about six months into the job, Mr. Itumbi stated that he is trying to understand the Diaspora affairs from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before he can engage the Diaspora, seriously!  The point is it that was quite a stunning revelation of the poor state of affairs with respect to the Diaspora. First of all, why do you have two offices handling the Diaspora with practically nothing to show for it? Don’t Itumbi and the Foreign Affairs Ministry ultimately report to you Mr. President? What is the purpose for the redundancy and duplication/overlapping of roles? In Mid-December, 2013 there was a Diaspora Conference in Washington, DC. Neither Mr. Itumbi nor anyone from the Foreign Affairs ministry attended, and yet two short weeks later Mr. Itumbi touted the Administration’s stellar performance in Diaspora affairs on Facebook. The truth is Itumbi doesn’t understand us, or our issues, or our language, doesn’t walk our walk and therefore cannot effectively represent us in this administration or any other for that matter unless in title, for show and tell only.
The Diaspora is not a one size fit all humanity that one can study and serve remotely at the President’s office in Nairobi, Kenya. The Diaspora is more than dual citizenship, voter id or voter registration or voting but even on these basics, there has not been any noticeable movement by the administration to accomplish anything, nothing. The Diaspora is also about true representation at all level of government and legislative agenda, codification of Diaspora specific interests into law, ease of asset repatriation on a tax exempt regime, benevolence insurance programs, asset protection, legal counsel and representation as need arises, and many more.
The person that serves as Director of Diaspora, in my opinion, should necessarily have requisite background key of which is to live or have lived in the Diaspora, so it is easy for the person to empathize and relate with the Diaspora, not by proxy as in the present circumstance. Our folks are spread all over the world and for those of us who live,  walk and breathe the Diaspora, our interests vary widely just as our stations do and our expectations were and still remain that you would somehow take that into account when appointing folks to represent us in the Administration. We expect genuine interest and action from your administration in truly reaching out to the Diaspora. We are fully cognizant of your prerogative to hire folks to serve in the administration but we also reserve the right to criticize when we are being shortchanged.
Additionally, Itumbi’s job description that he shared with us on Facebook is a twenty three (23) line item description and buried in lines 11 through 15 are five (5) lines dealing with the Diaspora at Director level. They are;
 xi. Liaising with Diaspora to allow constant interaction and exchange of ideas between the Presidency and the Diaspora;
xii. Outline structures for diaspora engagement with the Presidency;
xiii. Mobilize the diaspora to act as partners in the development of Kenya;
 xiv. Design policies and implement programs fundamental to diaspora relations;
xv. Support the Presidency’s media outreach activities to include diaspora.

Evidently, there is saturation of responsibilities, personal and professional piled on one man that makes it practically impossible to be effective in any one of them.  Even Superman has limitations and has to prioritize his missions. As if not enough, shortly after sharing his job description with us, Itumbi announced that he has been admitted to one of the Universities to pursue a Degree in Law.
My point being Mr. President that a person to deal with a constituency as large and diverse as the Diaspora cannot have his plate so full that it become an impediment to efficiently and effectively serve the purpose. It defeats the purpose via a self-inflicted frustration of purpose, we are being shortchanged and it is not entirely Itumbi’s fault because he is clearly stretched thin. So this position as currently constituted is a disservice to your administration, the nation and the Diaspora.
None of these job descriptions above have manifested themselves under Itumbi, and they will not for reasons stated above, and that is our concern, is your administration serious about the Diaspora? The Diaspora is a major engine of the economy that contributes in the upwards of KSHs.100 Billion to Kenya’s GDP before we count the multiplier effect and managing Diaspora Affairs is not a side job to be lumped up with social communication; it is a separate and more serious undertaking and we expect this administration to treat it as such.
Finally, Mr. President, There is still time to remedy this. This you can only achieve if your administration truly and sincerely engages the Diaspora both in form and substance and not superficially. There are plenty of well suited Kenyans in the Diaspora willing and able to genuinely engage with the administration and other organs of government and I fully expect that efforts to identify and work with these folks are forthcoming.

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