Diaspora can contribute through investments, philanthropy, skills transfer
-Minister Todd tells Diaspora Conference
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon. Hugh Todd says the contributions of the diaspora are manifested in more than just remittances, but through many other ways which will be crucial as Guyana pursues its transformational development agenda.
The Minister proffered that the diaspora can contribute to Guyana’s development through direct investments in a range of sectors, pursuance of generous philanthropic activities, serving as mentors to Guyanese. It can also transfer critical skills and technologies and advocate for the interests of Guyanese in the countries that they currently reside.
Minister Todd made this assertion in his feature address at the Government’s inaugural Virtual Diaspora Conference on Saturday.
“The diaspora has a key role to play in ensuring that Guyana can take full advantage of the opportunities for transformational change that are now available to us.
Our country is on the cusp of an era of unprecedented development in our nation’s history, and I have no doubt that the only path towards securing this prosperity is through the dedicated efforts of all Guyanese, those both at home and abroad,” he said.
Minister Todd told participants that Governments all around the world are beginning to recognise the diaspora has a valuable role to play in the development of their respective native countries. He said no matter the size of their population or economy, nations seek ways to ensure they make optimal use of their human and financial capital by tapping into, among other things, the capacity of diaspora communities.
“Guyana is no exception with regard to this trend, and we have often sought to gain a deeper understanding of the skills, expertise, knowledge and resources that are present in the Guyanese diaspora.
We are mindful of the lasting impact that the contributions of the diaspora can have on the development of Guyana.”
The Foreign Minister also said the President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali administration sees maintaining a strong relationship with the diaspora as one of its most important tasks. He noted that his Ministry particularly appreciates and values its role of serving as the conduit between the Government and those diaspora communities.
“Today’s important event is one such undertaking. Let me hasten to add that this conference is not an end in itself. It is only one part of Government’s wide-ranging strategy to elevate diaspora engagement and to its correct place in the national agenda for our development.”
Minister Todd also said apart from this conference, the Government has embarked on a plethora of initiatives over the past eight months, which demonstrate its determination to fulfil the promises it campaigned on.
The Virtual Diaspora Conference resulted from a promise by the President Ali to aggressively pursue diaspora engagement in Guyana’s national development. Minister Todd said it would provide an avenue for Guyana and the diaspora to co-operate and learn from each other.
“I know that the diaspora is keen to take advantage of this opportunity to interface, in many cases, for the first time with Government officials, and I’m confident that the information they receive today will greatly support future action on diaspora engagement.”
He added that the Foreign Affairs Ministry will work diligently to ensure diaspora engagement is transparent and long-lasting.
Foreign Secretary, Mr. Robert Persaud, who also addressed the conference, noted the wide-reaching involvement of 800 participants from Andorra, Australia, Botswana, East Timor, Ethiopia, Finland, Japan, Nigeria, the Philippines, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, the Caribbean, North America, the United Kingdom, and Europe.