The Malawi Government initiated the Diaspora Engagement Programme in 2012, and established the Diaspora Affairs Unit in the Ministry Cooperation, to manage the programme. The Unit is headed by a Coordinator who is supported by Foreign Service Officers.
The initiative was made upon the realisation that Malawi has a significant community of Diaspora with a diversity of recourses which could be harnessed to develop the country. Despite the existence of this Diaspora, there was no coordinated effort to take the Diaspora on board to assist in national development initiatives, hence the need for a formal programme of engagement. The definition of Malawian Diaspora includes the Malawian citizens, collectively, residing outside the country for an indefinite period of time whether for employment, business, education or any other purpose as well as persons of Malawian origin residing outside the country, holding citizenship of another country but still having interests in Malawi.
The overall objective of the Diaspora Engagement Programme is to incorporate the Diasporas into Malawi’s development initiatives through:
- Skills Transfer and resource mobilisation.
In order to meet the overall objective the programme will create a mutually beneficial relationship between Malawi and her Diaspora. This will be achieved by:
- The promotion of the spirit of “community”, patriotism and belongingness amongst Malawians living in the Diaspora.
- The provision of more effective consular services to Malawians living outside Malawi;
The Diaspora Affairs Unit which is mandated to manage the Programme, will among other functions be doing the following:
¡ Initiate the formulation of a national Diaspora Policy;
Develop a Strategy for engaging the Malawian Diaspora;
Coordinate Government efforts for the establishment of sustainable relationship with the Diaspora
Mobilise the involvement of the Diaspora in Malawi’s development agenda
Develop and maintain an up-to-date database of Malawians in the Diaspora
Facilitate access by the Diaspora, to accurate and reliable information on national developments
Coordinate with relevant stakeholders in delivering services to the Diaspora (e.g the Banks)
Identify investment and other business opportunities and attract the Diaspora to invest in Malawi
Facilitate the protection of Malawian Diaspora in their countries of residence