Deputy President William Ruto has listed some of the key areas Kenyans in the diaspora should invest in.
Ruto, who is seeking to succeed President Kenyatta in 2022, urged Kenyans living and working abroad to put their money in agricultural projects and affordable housing.
He argued that diaspora remittances can have a huge impact on the country's economy if proper planning is done. Kenyans abroad remitted Sh329 billion in 2020 compared to Sh285 billion in 2019, according to data from Central Bank of Kenya.
“We can possibly double that if we have clarity on what we need to do. There are many opportunities in different parts of the country, and you people in the diaspora can help us,” said Ruto.
He urged Kenyans in the diaspora to invest in export crops, particularly coffee and avocado.
“In 2016, I went to Italy and they said they could consume 50,000 tonnes of coffee from Kenya, which is basically all the coffee that we grow. We are trying to build our coffee exports,” said Ruto, adding that with investment Kenya can increase her earnings from Sh20 billion annually to around Sh100 billion.
Ruto also called upon the diaspora to invest in affordable housing, one of the Jubilee administration's big four agenda projects. He lamented that the housing project has been derailed by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) campaigns.
“Unfortunately ... that programme was disrupted by the famous handshake and BBI.”
“It’s (affordable housing project) also a programme that can have a structured mechanism that can have people in the diaspora to invest in low-cost housing where you don’t need to supervise or send money to anybody,” added Ruto.
He also underscored the huge potential of the country's textile and leather industries that collapsed some decades ago.
“At the moment, 80 per cent of all hides and skin are wasted as we only manage to process 20 percent. If we were to process all the hides and skins in Kenya it would be a Sh60 billion industry,” he said.
The deputy president was speaking during a virtual AGM meeting of GOTABGAA International, a non-profit organisation registered in the US. Most of the participants of the virtual meeting are based in the US.
He took the chance to assure them that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) was working to ensure Kenyans abroad vote in the 2022 elections.
"If we are not distracted by BBI stories, maybe there is sufficient time for IEBC to build the necessary infrastructure to enable you guys in the diaspora to vote for your leader of choice,” said Ruto.