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HOW CAN EAST AFRICANS IN DIASPORA MARKET OUR NATIONS ABROAD..?

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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba

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The Government is now riding on Kenyans in the Diaspora to sell the country’s image and cultural heritage. Brand Kenya Board says it has planned a series of meetings with Kenyans living abroad in a bid to sensitise them about marketing Kenya as a tourist and investment destination. "We have plans to involve Kenyans in the Diaspora in a project to market our image," says Mary Kimonye, Chief Executive of Brand Kenya Board. "We will soon visit the US and other areas with notable numbers of Kenyans to sensitise them on the issues at hand." The board, however, faces an uphill task in convincing Kenyans living abroad to buy the idea, with some questioning how marketable Kenya is at the global arena. During a meeting with Kenyans living in the UK, the Board heard that other than a tarnished image, efforts to sell the Brand Kenya to the world was limited to the extent of Government support. Many at the meet said despite efforts at personal level to sell the country, not much has been achieved due to lack of Government support as well as poor interpersonal relations between Kenyans and foreign missions. Kenyans in the Diaspora are also disgruntled with the Government for awarding contracts to foreign firms to carry out marketing exercises, an area they feel Kenyans abroad could competently handle the job. The Board and generally the Government ought to address the problems that have beleaguered Kenyans at home if they want to expand social cohesion," said Pastor Odima, a London-based preacher, who also questions whether Kenya is sellable. "Kenyans at home and abroad are looking keenly to see that the board achieves its aims in mobilising and creating awareness as a way of enhancing nationalism among the people," said Ephraim Ngare, Kenya’s High Commissioner to UK. To get Kenya covered positively in international media, the Board was urged to adopt celebrity endorsement.

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