The purpose of the Minister’s visit is to have a stakeholders’ meeting with members of the Diaspora community in the Netherlands and also use the Sierra Leone Central Union traditional event (outing) as a platform to meet with Sierra Leoneans and motivate them to continue their unwavering support to the country’s development. This visit will also provide a platform for NASSIT to sell their services such as pension scheme, mortgage and savings for diaspora.
The trip furthermore will be used by the Hon. Minister to engage Sierra Leonean professionals in Holland to participate in the Connecting Diaspora to their Country of Origin project (CD4D), also to encourage them to participate in the UMVA Platform that seeks to channel Diaspora remittances through the formal Banking system.
In recognition of the urgent need to mainstream the Sierra Leone Diaspora into national development process, the Minister during her visit will engage the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Africa Diaspora Policy Centre in The Hague; in relation to the development of a Diaspora policy for the Country. The expected Outcomes of this visit are:
1. A well informed target group on investment opportunities in Sierra Leone
2. A better understanding of the products and services of NASSIT, that are meant for the target group
3. Smart input into the development of the Diaspora policy
Meanwhile, the development of a Diaspora Policy will be welcome news not only for members of the Sierra Leonean Diaspora Community, but for the entire country as a whole. Indeed, the relevance of the Diaspora in national development should not be underestimated. According to sources from the Central Bank of Sierra Leone, inward formal remittances from the Sierra Leone Diaspora stood at $52,721,279.17 in 2015, also they have recorded $32,438,044 for the first six months in 2016. Remittance has an important impact on the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Furthermore, there exists enormous potential in skills, knowledge and expertise by the Sierra Leoneans abroad. This to a very large extent is an indication that the Diaspora has a huge and untapped potential to positively contribute to the growth of our economy. So therefore, with a Diaspora policy in place, the Sierra Leone Diaspora will be harnessed accordingly.
Sierra Leone Central Union is the platform of 14 Sierra Leonean organisations in The Netherlands and a leading platform of Sierra Leoneans in mainland Europe.