AN indaba to address various concerns raised by Zambians in the Diaspora is scheduled to take place in Lusaka next week, Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba has said.
The three-day meeting will be held from Wednesday to Friday next week.
Mr Kalaba said the meeting will discuss issues of dual citizenship, political participation as well as participation in the economic development of the country and remittances.
Mr Kalaba said that the Government recognised the potential of the Zambian Diaspora in the development agenda of the country.
He said at a press briefing held at the Zambian Permanent Mission in New York on Wednesday that participants in the forum would include stakeholders such as Diaspora Association, Parliamentarians, Non Governmental Organisations, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the private sector.
The Government had taken steps towards engaging the Zambians living abroad who had demonstrated interest in contributing to national development by investing in the various sectors of the economy.
“The directive by President Edgar Lungu that the Diaspora Policy should be in place before the end of 2015 is a clear manifestation of the Government’s desire to ensure that all Zambians in the spirit of ‘One Zambia One Nation’, be given an opportunity to participate in the development of the country,” he said.
He said the Government had in the past made several attempts to provide a framework to engage Zambians living abroad in addressing their plight but such efforts had been in piece meal.
“It is in this regard that the Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs embarked on the process of formulating the Diaspora Policy in a comprehensive manner and with utmost resolve,” he said.
The roadmap to the formation of a policy document had so far involved three stages of undertaking of study tours to countries within the continent that had widespread experience in Diaspora policy formulation.
Undertaking of study tours to selected countries with large numbers of Zambian population, such as the United Kingdom and the United States of America to solicit their input as well as the national Diaspora Consultative forum scheduled to take place in Lusaka.
The information to be gathered during the planned Indaba would be used in the formulation of the Diaspora Policy by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the steering committee composed of various line ministries and institutions.
Mr Kalaba had since invited members of the public to participate in the process of formulating the Diaspora Policy by presenting their concerns through his ministry’s Facebook page, “Diaspora Zambia”.