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Archive for the ‘The Diaspora’ Category

So finally the US will waive the visa issuance fee it charges kenyans?. Good gesture, but what would really be nice is the removal or reduction of the hefty H1 reciprocity fee Kenyans get charged ($340).

But here we need the diplomacy of Hon. Tuju and the economy of Hon. Kimunya to work it out so that we get this fee waived. First step. The cancellation or reduction of the $340 fee the kenya government charges american nationals (they charge them, right?) who get work permits to work in Kenya. The US government will cancel /reduce the $340 reciprocity fee they charge Kenyans who get the work permit (H1B etc) visa (Last time i was at a visa post, imagine my pain when paying $340 for this privelege while my Indian friends paid $50 (now reduced to $0) and Russians [which reminds me, i will write about my enkightened conversation with ’em Russians] paid $60).

But beyond me, why is this good? The math is good. There are more Kenyans working in the US than there are Americans working in Kenya. Say we have 1000 Americans working in kenya. Kenya gets to pocket $340,000. But just 50,000 Kenyans pay uncle Sam a cool $17,000,000! Hon Tuju and Hon. Kimunya, please help your country!

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“Job centres should be set up in Africa with “work mobility” packages for would-be immigrants, the European Commission said yesterday, as it unveiled radical plans to try to manage the flow of inward migration” The independent

Yes, this would work! Lets hope african governments would take this “offer” and run with it. This is basically what the outsourcing in India and all those other places is all about, though i must say, in the current case, the main reason that might be driving this move by the Europeans is fear of “the darkening of Europe”. But who cares what the reason is, if africa can bebefit from that fear, good!

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So much for negative publicity from western media. Lele send me this article from the Vanguard by a nigeriaan minister visiting nairobi. Perhaps Dr Alfred Mutua, (Oh, we learned it was new Government Spokesman side-kick Joe, not Dr Mutua) who i noticed graced M’s Gikuyu debate by posting something lame (OK, he was in the USA; Perhaps being away from kenya unclouds one’s vision:-Dr Mutua if you ever read this, no Hard feelings, just suggestions), could learn from this. I do not doubt every kenyan in the Diaspora who reads this will beam with pride. OK, i agree there are issues, and planting flowers is not everything, but maybe, just maybe, if we manage to have some postitive news and outlook( without ceasing to demand for more), we might have strength (being negative does drain one) to dream/plan solutions to our quagmires.

Something else that is uplifting (assume it is not an election carrot), but something meant to last and well though out( i wonder though, AIDS is such a burden, i hope NHIF has planned well for this), is the report on NHIF scheme for all. Rista surely this post must make your day!

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At least here is a start in the right direction: Nation online reported here about “exporting” skilled workers to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Namibia, Botswana, Rwanda and Sudan. The government says there is an agreement in the contract with the countries stipulating that some proceeds earned by the employees be ploughed back to the country.

While i do not trust this government much, this is one of the issues i strongly agree with (see old entry here) and think it is a step in the right direction. But they should go further:

Make a similar agreement that would enable Kenya to benefit from the many (~ 200,000) professionals from kenya in North America, Europe and Asia. But for this to be acceptable to those in Diaspora, they would need to be convinced that the money the government “earns” from them goes to good use, and NOT paying Anglo Leasing types, buying 4×4 Lexuses and 144m type bribes. There are three ways (see my previous blog advocating for this) that this can be achieved:

(a) Channel the funds to supplement the professional’s constituency CDF funds. Most people in Diaspora seem to agree that the CDF has a great potential and they would support such a move. Those in Diaspora would of course have a sit in the CDF team.
(b) Channel the fund to the professionals former University or HELB (which really should be decentralized and be constituency driven) or even High school of their choice to support education activities.
(c) Those in Diaspora should create special investment bodies that they empower to invest the funds in projects and/or businesses of their desire in whatever area in Kenya they choose.

Of course they would have to be convinced that:

(i) There is full accountability and the audit books are open to the public

(ii) That if the money goes to the government, that the government actively participated in their being where they are today to warrant a partion of their earnings.

Anyone who cares about these things and want to join me on K-street?

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