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Hon. Kenneth Gbandi, chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe (middle), Usman Alhaji Ibrahim, leading member of the National Rescue Mission (left) and Ikenna Ugwu of the Food and Agricultural Organisation, Rome, at the the first-ever Nigerian Diaspora Global Project & Investment Summit UK, which took place in July 2018 in London / Photo: NIDOE

Why Nigerians should set their sight on Dublin

A big, bold and ambitious project awaits delegates and guests as the annual Nigerian Diaspora Conference kicks off in Dublin, Ireland.

2019 promises to be one of the defining moments in Nigerian Diaspora efforts to decisively impact the development of their homeland. A big and bold investment initiative will be launched at the annual general meeting of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDOE), taking place in Dublin on 7-9 November.

Obviously frustrated that Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country that is also blessed with an abundance of natural resources, has been punching below its weight economically, the diaspora now wants to take the lead in championing the country’s economic development.

An investment promotion campaign will be launched in Dublin to significantly scale up foreign investments into all sectors of the Nigerian economy, potentially to the tune of hundreds of billions of euros in the next 10 years.

Some members of NIDOE at the body’s annual general meeting in Vienna, 8 November 2019 / Photo: Femi Awoniyi

 

The brainchild of Kenneth Gbandi, chairman of NIDOE, working in collaboration with partners in Nigeria’s private sector, the initiative will aggressively promote the potential of Nigeria as place to do business to international investors.

“Look at agriculture, with over 200 million people and plenty of arable land, Nigeria should be an Eldorado for investors in agribusiness as they’re assured of a ready market for their products and profits for their capital,” Gbandi said.

“On hearing of our initiative, many analysts said it was unrealistic given the obstacles to investment in Nigeria. But like Steve Job, founder of Apple, said, those who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world end up doing so,” he added.

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Potential investors have been invited to the Nigerian conference in Dublin where NIDOE will present its plan to them, he said.

Gbandi explained that while Dublin is “a practical and transactional platform for concrete investment deals”, it will more importantly function as a staging post for the campaign.

Beyond international investors, NIDOE is also looking at how to mobilize the financial resources of the diaspora, whose annual remittances to Nigeria now top $20 billion a year, “to participate more actively in their country’s development story and benefit from its myriad investment opportunities,” Gbandi explained.

Members of a business delegation from Plateau State visiting an agricultural engineering company in the Netherlands, October 2019. The visit was organised by a member of the Nigerian diaspora in Germany to promote international investment in the Nigerian agric sector /Photo: ABG Paulus

 

“I would like to see diaspora bond issuances and special investment vehicles created as they can become game-changing financing that can be put to work for the benefit of Nigeria’s development.”

NIDOE will charge all its 19 chapters in 18 countries to engage in active economic diplomacy in their various spheres of influence, promoting Nigeria at every opportunity – be it at trade fairs, economic conferences, business summits etc.

NIDOE is also making efforts to engage policy makers in Nigeria on what has to be done to improve the investment climate in the country and make it more attractive to the global investment community.

The timing of the investment promotion plan is fortuitous, coming on the heels of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area which has been ratified by the majority of African Union members.

NIDOE would do well to focus on investments that minimize negative environmental and social issues, while maximizing development and economic outcomes for Nigerians.

Femi Awoniyi

About NIDOE
Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDOE) is the continental umbrella organisation of Nigerians living in Europe with a chapter network in 18 countries and a Board of Trustees with headquarters at the Nigerian High Commission in London.

The mandate of NIDOE is to promote the welfare of the Nigerian Diaspora and pursue national development through advocacy, networking, partnerships, and bilateral cooperation. In doing so, NIDOE leverages its enormous pool of expertise and offers an excellent platform through which Nigerians and their partners channel their activities to Nigeria.

More on NIDOE at: www.nidoeurope.org

 

 

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