Botswana understudies Ghana on Diaspora management
A delegation from Botswana has visited Ghana to understudy the latter’s diaspora engagement programme and policy.
This is aimed at helping the southern African country build its capacity in that area.
The 11-member government delegation, drawn from the country’s various ministries and led by the Deputy Press secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Moffat Lumwda, was in the country for 10 days, successfully completing the study tour last Monday.
The study tour was organised by the International Organisation For Migration (IOM) in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other stakeholders for the development of the diaspora engagement policy and building the capacity of the Government of Botswana to engage the Diaspora.
During the study tour, they were taken through topics such as how Ghana was managing and coordinating diaspora engagement with various stakeholders, including national diaspora events such as ‘The Year of Return’ and ‘Beyond the Return’ initiatives as well as the finalisation of the Ghana Diaspora Engagement Policy.
They were briefed about the different programmes and modalities such as the short and long term plans being developed by Ghana for the diaspora, as well as the required human, material and financial resources for a diaspora unit.
Also, they received information on how the diaspora was driving the growth of tourism in Ghana and also the approaches the country had adopted for the promotion of decent jobs for Ghanaian labour migrants who were potential Ghanaian diasporans through the National Labour Migration Policy (2020-2024).
Additionally, they received briefing on how Ghana is addressing the issue of dual citizenship, the right to vote, skills exchange, brain drain and remittances, as well as other issues related to its people living and working abroad
Another area the delegation sought to gain an insight into was how Ghana was collecting data, managing it and using that data to formulate policies in a safe and secured manner
Importance of tour
The overall objective of the study tour was to enhance the understanding and exposure of the Botswana Delegation to some of the good practices, experiences and lessons learnt from their Ghanaian counterparts in their engagement of the Ghanaian Diaspora.
The members of the delegation would be expected to utilise the strategic information to support the development of a gender-sensitive, inclusive and comprehensive National Diaspora Engagement Policy in Botswana.
The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR), Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, expressed delight about the Botswana Government Delegation for using Ghana as a reference point of best practices in strengthening Botswana’s governance framework and diaspora engagement.
The minister who spoke about the interconnection between Labour Migration and Diaspora Engagement said for the state to harness the full opportunities in diaspora contributions, it must manage its labour migration well.
He said MELR in recognition of the importance of managing labour migration, enhancing remittances, reducing vulnerability & extending protection to Ghanaian labour migrants had formulated the National Labour Migration Policy (NLMP) which was in its third year of implementation.
Importance of Diaspora policy
Mr Lumwda said Botswana acknowledged the importance of having a diaspora engagement policy framework and clearly defined modalities of engaging the citizens of Botswana in the diaspora as well as the contribution of remittances to national development.
The country, he said, acknowledged the role and contribution of the diaspora associations and networks as well as the need to create formal linkages between itself and the latter.
Mr Lumwda added that Botswana recognised the importance of harnessing the potential of its diaspora which required determined efforts, constant and innovative outreach as well as collaborative strategies to establish regular communication channels that allowed diasporans Ghanaians the choice because it was known for its robust, well-defined and well-developed diaspora engagement programme and policy, and therefore expressed the hope that engagement with the Ghanaian counterpart would help the country achieve its agenda.
The expected outcomes included participants having better understanding of how Ghana approached the diaspora, including defining it, as well as how it overcame the challenges and exploited the opportunities.