The Foreign ministry has called a meeting with Kenyans living abroad as it seeks to harness remittance flows and promote investments locally.
The meeting, scheduled for next month, will expose Kenyans in the diaspora to investment opportunities available in the country and address the rising cost of sending money.
“The theme for this event is to create a forum through which Kenyans abroad can share valuable information,” said KenyanDiasporaLink.com website in a statement sent to newsrooms.
Government officials will advise on complying with legal procedures and related regulations in both foreign countries and Kenya.
Diaspora remittances to Kenya amounted to $84.9 million by September 2011, which was 45 per cent higher than the September 2010 amount.
As remittances surge, corporations in Kenya and the government have been looking for ways to tap the resource.
The government has been holding talks with the World Bank on modalities of issuing a bond backed by the remittances, with the sticking point being how to consolidate the fragmented nature of the flow.
The September remittances set a new high, surpassing the mark recorded in August of $79.6 million.
The remittances have been rising year to year. The increase was partly attributed to tough economic times at home which prompted increased remittances from Kenyans abroad and the weak shilling which guarantees more shillings per dollar sent home.
Kenya is the third biggest recipient of diaspora remittances in Africa after Nigeria and Sudan, according to the latest data from the World Bank.
Last year’s World Bank report showed that Kenyans in the diaspora spend up to 10 per cent of the value of their remittances on transaction fees, findings that call for better ways of managing money transfer.
The government has set up vehicles such as the diaspora bond to net these funds for development projects. Cooperate organizations such as Kenya Commercial Bank have come up with products such as diaspora mortgages to facilitate investments in local property.
Most Kenyans abroad send money to their relatives who may not have information on high returns and secure investment options.
KenyanDiasporaLink.com will host the Kenyan diaspora conference in collaboration with AfricaAlumni.com.
The event’s key speakers include Mr Mugo Kibati, the director general of the Vision 2030 Secretariat, and Ms Njeri Rionge, listed in Forbes’ Africa’s Most Successful Women.