The Malawian Diaspora in the USA in collaboration with the Malawi Mission in Washington D.C. USA, held Malawi’s first ever Diaspora Conference on 29th September, 2018, under the theme “Building Bridges for Growth and Development.” Attended by more than 100 Malawian Diaspora from various fields and professions who are currently living in different states of the USA, the Conference was commended as the most successful event in the history of the gathering of the Malawian Diaspora in the USA. Hon. Dr. Emmanuel Fabiano, M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was the Guest of Honour at the Conference. Amongst prominent guests were Her Excellency Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, African Union Ambassador to the USA who gave a thought-provoking, soul-searching pan African speech to the Malawian Diaspora, and the Vice Mayor of City of District Heights, Mr. Jonathan M. Medlock, who pledged to forge Civic and investment cooperation with Malawi.

During his Keynote Address, Hon. Fabiano, assured the Malawian Diaspora of the Government’s commitment to enhance Diaspora engagement through the implementation of the Malawi Diaspora Engagement Policy priority areas which include establishment of “Umodzi Network” through the Diaspora Portal, and the reviewing of the Citizenship Act to allow Dual Citizenship. He, therefore, encouraged the Diaspora to be Ambassadors for Malawi and lobby with their host States for resources for the development of Malawi. He also commended those that are already taking an active role through various diaspora philanthropic initiatives.

As one of the most immediate and concrete steps to take, Malawian Diaspora in the USA agreed to establish a cooperative/partnership that would enable the group to mobilize resources for the socio-economic development of Malawi, and the welfare of the Malawian Diaspora in the USA. In this regard, the Diaspora plans to establish a Diaspora Cooperative Fund that would facilitate investment and diaspora welfare goals. Mr. Jonathan Medlock, Vice Mayor of the District Heights, also proposed to explore investment and business cooperation between Malawi and the District Heights City. The Rama Brothers, Malawian born of Indian descent and owners of more than 40 hotels in the USA, offered scholarships for Malawian students to study at their University in India and for the Malawian Diaspora to utilize their Hotel Orlando Airport Renaissance Marriott for future Diaspora meetings in the USA. The Diaspora agreed to hold another conference in 2019, in another State that will be agreed by the representatives of the Associations in order to encourage continued engagement and cooperation amongst the Diaspora.

Meanwhile, the Ministry is finalizing arrangements for a Diaspora Mapping Exercise to be piloted in the USA, UK and RSA. The Mapping Exercise will facilitate evidence based Policy measures and interventions towards successful implementation of the Diaspora Engagement Policy.