At the outset, Mr Parvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, spelt out that India was indeed keen to connect with its diaspora in Kenya and other East African countries, economically, both within Kenya and India. He emphasized that the meet was aimed at providing a platform to the diaspora to share their ideas, suggestions and concerns. He mentioned “we are here not so much to ask you to invest in India but to sit with you and work how India can engage with its diaspora in Kenya and East Africa and on the economic front. Moreover, how can India help the Indian diaspora and other Kenyans and East Africans who wish to realize their dreams to be part of the India-Growth Story.”
Hon. Amb. Prof. Samson K Ongeri, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Government of Republic of Kenya, joined during the Business Session of the “Indian Diaspora Engagement Meet”. With an academic background from India, Prof. Ongeri is well acquainted with the Indian Market and highlighted the tremendous scope prevalent in the manufacturing sector for India to engage with Kenya. This area in Kenya could provide employment to the youth in Kenya which constitutes nearly 50% of the unemployment figure.
The meet was attended by delegates consisting primarily of senior and influential Diaspora community members, High Net-worth Individuals
(HNIs) and small and mid-sized investors, of Indian origin, residing in East African countries
Speaking at the inaugural, H. E Mr Sibabrata Tripathi, High Commissioner of India to Kenya said that Kenya epitomizes all that is good in the Indian diaspora overseas. While the number is not large in Kenya itself, the total in the East Africa region is substantial.
Other speakers at the inaugural Session were Dr. Manu Chandaria, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardee and Chairman, Comcraft Group; Mr. Vimal Shah, Vice Chairman, Kenya Private Sector Alliance and CEO, BIDCO Kenya and Prof. Kenneth Ombongi, Chairman, Kenya-India Friendship Association who shared their valuable remarks on the Meet. Eminent Indian businessman Dr. Manu Chandaria invited Indian companies to explore the open market in East Africa and enjoy the opportunity of huge businesses and emulate the diaspora. Mr Vimal Shah mentioned about “Vision 2030” and how effectively 70% of the Kenyan population who are below 30 years, can be employed in various sectors with investments and development.
The inaugural was followed by the Business Session which included discussions and presentations on MOIA by Mr Vinay Sahni, Joint Secretary (DS), MOIA and on Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre by Ms Sujata Sudarshan, CEO, OIFC. Other prominent speakers in the session were Mr T. Ramamurthy, Regional Director – Strategy & Operations, Nakumatt Holdings Ltd.; Mr. Julius K. Korir, Acting Managing Director, Kenya Investment Authority; Mr Deepak Sharma, Senior Vice President – NRI Banking & Remittance, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd; Mr Nikhil Hira, Senior Partner, Deloitte & Touche; Dr. Markandey Rai, President, GOPIO Kenya Chapter; Mr. Naresh Kumar Leekha, Executive Director, Tata Africa Holdings (Kenya) Ltd.; Mr M. N. Sarma, Managing Director, KenIndia Assurance Ltd.
The speakers mentioned about increasing visibility of Indians in Kenya. They also spoke on training programmes / exchange programmes and related capacity building required in the various sectors like healthcare, culture and education. They also pointed out that goodwill between the countries will develop with more Indian investment, vibrancy, communication and networking.
The meet was attended by delegates consisting primarily of senior and influential Diaspora community members, High Net-worth Individuals (HNIs) and small and mid-sized investors, of Indian origin, residing in East African countries.
The session concluded with an active interaction between the panel members and the audience. The main emphasis during the discussions was on the willingness and potential of the Indian Diaspora in getting economically engaged with India and creating synergy between the two economies and social development. OIFC assured to continue its interaction with the delegates, who attended the Meet. This will help strengthen the interface and reach out of the Diaspora with India.
The following day, the OIFC organized a Round Table meet with select senior diaspora members and government officials to deliberate on the way forward to enhance economic linkages between the two countries.
OIFC will continue to organize similar “Indian Diaspora Engagement Meets’ in other parts of the world, with high Diaspora population, to expand the economic linkages between the Global Indians and India.
—India Empire is a Media Partner for the OIFC, an investment portal that was launched by the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh three years ago