The Role of the Kenyan Diaspora in Sweden in Kenya’s Economic Development

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Wasike, Robert
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Kenyatta University
Diaspora matters have consistently attracted attention of many global actors. Today, many international organizations, as well as continental, regional and national entities, engage with their diaspora across the globe. The International Organization for Migration (IOM), African Union (AU) as well as individual states identify diaspora as a critical source of development and therefore promote programs aimed at harnessing their potential for development of their home countries. This study set out to examine the role of Kenyan diaspora in Sweden in Kenya’s economic development. Specifically, the study assessed the contributions made by the Kenyan diaspora in Sweden in Kenya’s economic development; evaluated the role of existing government structures, policies and instruments and how these harnessed the potential of Kenyan diaspora in Sweden towards contributing to Kenya’s economic development; and the challenges that the Kenyan diaspora in Sweden experienced in regard to their full integration, mainstreaming and engagement in effective contribution towards Kenya’s economic development. The study thus examined the interplay between parameters of economic development namely trade and investments, remittances and sharing of knowledge, skills, and networks on one side versus contributions made by the diaspora, government facilitation and challenges experienced. The constructivist theory was used to understand the identity and activities of diaspora, the government support and challenges experienced towards the economic development of Kenya. The study adopted descriptive research design where the survey method was employed to obtain information from respondents. The study was undertaken at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nairobi and the Embassy of the Republic of Kenya, Sweden because of the strategic role these centers play in the administration and execution of the country's strategy regarding Kenyan diaspora. Interviews were carried out on representatives from Organizations responsible for diaspora affairs because of their in-depth knowledge, understanding, and engagement in diaspora activities towards Kenya's economic development. The study was also conducted in Sweden and at the national diaspora office, Nairobi where officials and members of the diaspora community were interviewed. In total, the target population of 111 respondents was identified for study through purposive, stratified random sampling and snowball sampling methods. However, only 102 respondents were available and interviewed. Out of this, 76 were members from organizations while 26 were staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The researcher used structured interviews guided by an interview schedule to collect data from respondents identified in the target population of study. The researcher used both qualitative and quantitative methods, but the study was highly qualitative. In qualitative method, responses from interviews were arranged in thematic areas, interpreted, analysed, and presented. The study used Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) for quantitative data which was coded, interpreted, analysed, and presented according to the sequence of study objectives and study questions. To achieve reliable and credible results, the study adhered to ethical standards of research at all stages of the study.
A Research Project Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Award of the Degree of Master of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy of Kenyatta University