Kenyans abroad have been urged to invest in the country as Africa’s economies slowly emerge from the effects of the COVID-9 lockdowns.
Speaking to a global audience during a webinar organized by the Kenya Diaspora Alliance, Kenya’s Tourism Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala said that tourism is one of the worst affected sectors by COVID 19. He noted that Africa’s stake in the global tourism market stands at only 3%. With the grounding of the aviation sector, a key element in the growth of the tourism sector, CS Balala noted that it is important to view the two sectors- Aviation and tourism as one. He also called on the diaspora community to invest in the infrastructure in Africa and not wait for governments to make critical investment decisions regarding the continent.
“Why can’t the diaspora community finance infrastructure in Africa?” he asked. “There are many opportunities for investment, not just in Kenya but the continent.”
Data from the Central Bank of Kenya shows that remittances in July alone amounted to $277Million (Ksh 29.9 Billon). Diaspora remittances are the country’s largest source of foreign exchange.
The webinar focused on Africa’s economic recovery post COVID-19 and explored safe ways that African countries can reopen their economies amidst the pandemic. Since the announcement of the first case, there are over 1M cases of the Corona Virus in the continent. Despite the relatively low numbers as compared to other continents, the pandemic has had a significant toll on African economies.
Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), particularly the tourism and aviation sectors have been severely affected due to requisite, preventive measures to curb the spread of the virus such as prolonged lockdowns and quarantining of transnational travellers.
The webinar had participants from different governments, private sector, diaspora, NGOs and regional and international organisations, and sought to discuss steps and actions being taken to reopen economic activities across Africa. The webinar also highlighted opportunities for diaspora and other partners to invest in and promote the sectors of health, tourism and transport.
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