Get ready for July 22 as we engage and continue placing on the table the issues that concern and divide us, also find solutions to our situation
By Farai Madzivanyika
The Diaspora Desk which sits within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International trade together with ZimThrive, an apolitical diaspora initiative, are jointly hosting a diaspora engagement conference alongside the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) on 22 July 2021 in Bulawayo.
This will be one of the first diaspora engagements with their country and will hopefully be the first of many more to come.
ZimThrive is an apolitical diaspora initiative that was in the advanced stages of preparation to hold a diaspora homecoming event that was to be held in April 2020 in conjunction with the Diaspora Desk before the Covid-19 pandemic set in and caused the cancellation of the event.
The initiative is premised around creating a positive narrative about our home country centred around its great tourism potential, its great people of diverse cultures, and fostering a spirit of engagement amongst its peoples.
There is no doubt that there is a level of mistrust between the Zimbabwean diaspora and her home country, a mistrust that is acknowledged across the board.
However, efforts to dialogue as in the planned conference should be seen as an effort to engage, acquaint and begin to deal with the issues that seem to divide these two constituencies.
“The invitation of the Diaspora Desk to our initiative, ZimThrive, is therefore commendable as a first step”, said ZimThrive Southern Africa Co-ordinator, Mr Farai Madziwanyika.
Since the conference is running alongside the ZITF, the theme will be business-oriented as the Diaspora Desk seeks to engage the diaspora to exchange ideas on how the diaspora can be co-opted into the economic sector of the country.
“The fact that the diaspora is now one of the leading contributors of foreign currency through remittances to Zimbabwe is common knowledge and needs no further mentioning”, said Mr Madziwanyika.
“However, the diaspora must not be known only for their remittances, but must also participate in the opportunities that arise within the economy of her home country”.
“Opportunities for skills transfer must be sought in order that the exposure gained in many industries across the globe is harnessed for the development of our country” he went further to say.
“We must be involved in the nation-building of Zimbabwe and we must contribute not just financially and through our skills, but also by promoting our beautiful tourist destinations that include one of the main wonders of the word, the Victoria Falls.
We must be proud of our country, its culture, its foods and its peoples.
Only then can we speak glowingly of what a beautiful country we have, and thus encourage more to visit, boosting our tourism and economy”.
“We must engage and continue placing on the table the issues that concern and divide us and find solutions to our situation. Only through such initiatives can we begin to re-acquaint ourselves with each other and break the barriers that we sometimes find ourselves facing, at times, unnecessarily. Only through such engagements can we speak to one another, share ideas and build ourselves as a people and in turn, build our country”.
“I sincerely hope that we can as a diaspora increasingly communicate amongst ourselves and structure ourselves formally so that we can speak and engage with our country with one voice not only over business-related issues but also on social and other issues that affect us as a grouping of countrymen living abroad”.
The Diaspora Desk and ZimThrive therefore invites those keen to participate to register on www.zimthrive.com/diaspora-forum . We also call upon businesses who wish to participate in the B2B sessions to register on the same link or to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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