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Ruto: My plan for Kenyans in diaspora

Ruto spoke on Thursday evening during launch of his manifesto.

In Summary

R•uto plans to create a diaspora ministry and improve the delivery of government services through decentralizing services and functions of Kenyan missions abroad.

•He also intends to establish a diaspora forum to review the progress of national government services to the diaspora and enhance existing trade and investment channels.

Deputy President William Ruto when unveiling his manifesto at Kasarani Stadium on Thursday, June 30, 2022.
Deputy President William Ruto when unveiling his manifesto at Kasarani Stadium on Thursday, June 30, 2022.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'Á

The Kenya Kwanza administration seeks to strengthen its ties with foreign countries by collaborating with international partners and upholding its commitments to the international community.

By playing an active role in regional and Pan-African integration, the administration hopes to create opportunities for Kenyans, businesses and as well good environment for investors.

To ensure this is realized, it aims at creating a robust foreign policy and regional integration through key pillars of diaspora engagement, economic and commercial diplomacy and anchor state.

Diaspora engagements, Deputy President William Ruto argues will help unlock the full potential of Kenyans living overseas.

"We will create a diaspora ministry and improve the delivery of government services through decentralizing services and functions of Kenyan missions abroad," Ruto said during the launch on Thursday.

Other strategies in place are establishing a diaspora forum to review the progress of national government services to the diaspora and enhance existing trade and investment channels in order to promote further inward investment by Kenyans living in the diaspora.

It has said it will facilitate accreditations and endorsements of Kenya’s qualifications and skills with those of foreign countries for easy access to higher education and foreign jobs by Kenyans living in the diaspora.

Another promise is the establishment of a social welfare system for Kenyans living in the diaspora, through exploring and implementing the portability of social protection and also engaging Kenyan sports personalities and eminent Kenyans to promote patriotism and social cohesion both in Kenya and globally.

Kenyans living in the diaspora, he said, generate most of the country’s foreign revenue estimated at $3.7 billion in 2021.

“We shall facilitate their investment locally and include them in the development and execution of policy,” he said.

To expand markets for local products and services, Ruto’s government says it will take capitalize on its membership in regional organizations such as EAC, COMESA, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA), and (IGAD).

It also assures of an active role in leading the ongoing efforts to advance regional stability and peace and aid global initiatives to counteract violent extremism and cooperate with other countries as reliable allies or neighbours.

This will, according to Ruto will strengthen the country’s role as an anchor state in regional, continental, and global affairs.

To realize the 10 percent forest cover as required by the Constitution, the Kenya Kwanza commits to mainstream the ecologically sustainable development through the adoption of a bottom-up, 3P ,solutions-people, planet and profit.

To meet the objective, priority value chains which include biomass energy (wood fuel), agroforestry and solid waste management shall be adopted where there are plans to establish five million acres (20,000 km2) of agroforestry woodlots in dry lands.

On wood fuel, it aims at modernizing and commercializing the charcoal value chain specifically the adoption of modern kilns and supports the scaling up of clean cooking technologies.

Promoting youth-owned and operated briquette enterprises where agricultural waste is available in commercially viable quantities and decriminalization of the charcoal trade is another option is a pledge.

As a way of dealing with solid waste which has become a concern for all counties, Ruto says they will provide “circular economy” waste separation sites, and organise waste collectors into cooperatives.  And complement EPR with a “bottom-up” community-based value chain.

Ruto’s government also has plans to deal with the challenges facing financial services by developing a robust financial services, consumer protection policy and legal framework.

Taking into consideration the inclusion driven by Safaricom’s MPESA service, Ruto said this has become a double-edged sword for enabling predatory lending by “Fintechs”.

This, Ruto stated will protect Kenyans from predatory lenders who have for long found soft spots in Kenyans by listing them in the credit reference bureau (CRB).

“We commit to leveraging on Kenya’s well-developed SACCO system, develop a tier-three financial system to provide affordable credit to the deserving and undeserving with specific focus to smallholder farmers and MSMEs, but also venture finance and affordable housing,” he stated.

It has also declared that it will deploy a credible macroeconomic framework and growth strategy to strengthen external creditworthiness.

“This will enable the government to borrow cheaply externally and end crowding out of the private sector from the domestic credit market,” he said.

Digital superhighway and digital economy, Ruto says this will help drive the four pillars of health, agriculture, MSME and financing as well in enhancing revenue collections via automation of VAT systems.

Under this pillar, the administration will inject Sh40 billion to finance by universal service fund for universal broadband availability throughout the country within five years. 

They are also planning to increase and fast-track broadband connectivity across the country by the construction of 100,000km of national fibre optic connectivity network and establish an African regional hub and promote the development of software for export.

Enhancing government service delivery through digitization and automation of all government critical processes and making available 80percent of government services online also forms part of the solutions.

“The implementation of the Digital master plan will adhere to environmental agreements in which Kenya is a signatory,” he said.

Reducing the cost of calls and data to allow wananchi and especially the youth to use online platforms for entertainment, information and business is also another commitment.

On Music and art and craft, they plan to pass the creative Economy Bill that will enable the establishment of a film fund and also mandate the film fund to facilitate access to modern equipment and the entire film production infrastructure.

For mobile tunes, they have proposed to streamline the benefits that accrue to the artists from the skiza tunes and other revenue streams and also enforcement of copyright laws.