Unleashing the Untapped Potential: Regional Conference Explores the Power of Diaspora for Inclusive Development

The recently concluded Regional Ministerial Focus Conference on Diaspora Engagement held in Entebbe, Uganda, showcased the pivotal role of diaspora communities in driving economic growth, innovation, and social progress.

Hosted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the conference brought together esteemed leaders from 16 African nations, underscoring the collective commitment to harnessing the potential of diaspora communities for the betterment of their home countries.

Uganda’s united front epitomized the country’s unwavering dedication to engaging its diaspora community and leveraging its skills, resources, and networks for national development.

Spearheaded by Ambassador Johnny Muhindo, Head of the Diaspora Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ambassador Abbey Walusimbi, Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs, Uganda’s presence symbolized their recognition of the immense value of diaspora engagement in fostering inclusive growth.

Chief of Mission, IOM/UN Migration in Uganda, Ambassador Sanusi Tejan Savage at the event in Entebbe, Uganda.

The IOM Country Chief, Ambassador Sanusi Tejan, pledged to promote strategic partnerships between the diaspora private sector, women leaders, local communities, NGOs, public and private sectors, and governments in countries of origin and host countries.

On her part, State Minister for Gender & Culture, Hon. Peace Regis Mutuuzo, said Diaspora Women are catalysts of transformative change, hence government will support all efforts to leverage their role, by creating an enabling environment, which allows them to thrive.

Minister of State for Regional Cooperation, Hon. John Mulimba, emphasized the need for the formation of databases, which gather details by country and region, to help in capturing humanitarian and development efforts of Diaspora Women.

The Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs, Ambassador Hajji Abbey Walusimbi, of the Office  President of Uganda, delivered a stirring address that reverberated with attendees, emphasizing the critical role of diaspora engagement as a catalyst for inclusive development. His impassioned words urged all nations present to recognize and embrace the immense potential of their diaspora communities.

The ambassadors emphasized the importance of uniting their skills, knowledge, and passion for change with the vision and support of their respective governments.

The Head of the Diaspora Department in the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ambassador Johnny Muhindo, who led Uganda’s unified delegation, called for sharing of good practices, knowledge sharing, obstacles, lessons learned & experiences among DiasporaWomen leaders and key stakeholders, hence fostering cross-cultural exchange and dialogue, in countries of origin and host countries.

Commissioner of Labour in the Gender Ministry, Mr Lawrence Egulu, underscored the importance placed on recognizing the vital role of Diaspora Women in Uganda’s progress.

On the sidelines, experts had a vibrant discussion with diaspora members, including Ambassador Jacquline Natepi Ben  South Sudan, Senior Regional Advisor, Said Sheik Abdi IOM Nairobi Dr Amina Hersi, Rose Kobusinge, Eddie Sembatya, Mua-zawiya Mukasa Uganda, Dr Lilian Muasa, & Dr Madrine Kingendo Kenya, Nimo Hussein, Fatumo Farah, & Layla Ali Somalia and Dagmawit Aynalem Ethiopia, who spoke to gender, the Diaspora and leadership, as it relates to humanitarian & development work.

They also delved into experiences, motivation changes, challenges faced by diaspora migrants, and suggestions to improve outreach between IOM, Governments, and the Diaspora.

The outcomes of the conference are poised to shape policies, strategies, and actions that promote diaspora engagement, gender equality, and sustainable development.