The Zimbabwean delegation with the management of NiDCOM led by its Chairman/Chief Executive, Dr Abike Dabiri-Erewa/Photo: NiDCOM

Why African diaspora is critical to continental development — Abike Dabiri-Erewa

For Africa to experience socio-economic resurgence, prosperity and development, the onus lies with Africans at home and more importantly its Diaspora.

Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, (NIDCOM), Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, stated this when she received a delegation from Zimbabwe led by its High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Maxwell Ranga, on a study tour of the Commission in Abuja.

Dabiri-Erewa expressed joy that more African States are beginning to recognise the worth of their Diasporas, as she noted that these Diasporas are the catalysts for a progressive continent and cannot be ignored.

She asserted that this intentionality can produce a synergy between Africans and Africans in the diaspora, to proffer solutions that will revive the socio-economic situation of the continent and building the Africa of our dreams.

The NIDCOM Boss was impressed with the Zimbabwean government’s interest in its Diaspora explaining that NiDCOM, being the official agency for diaspora relations and engagement in Nigeria, has taken pragmatic steps in her engagement and empowerment of the Nigerian Diaspora.

From left: Mrs Sienzeni Mateta, Director, Bilateral Trade and Diaspora, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Zimbabwe, Ambassador Maxwell Ranga, Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/Chief Executive of NiDCOM, and Engr Dr Sule Yakubu Bassi, Secretary of the Commission/Photo: NiDCOM

Some of the steps include but not limited to: the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Summit, the National Diaspora Day and National Diaspora Merit Awards, the Diaspora Housing Scheme, the Badagry Door of Return Festival, Diaspora Medical Outreaches, Presidential Diaspora Townhall Meetings, Interventions, the Establishment of the NiDCOM Act and the formation of the National Diaspora Policy, as well as, partnering with non-political and professional diaspora groups and government agencies that align with the Commission’s objectives, mandates and goals, among others.

Dabiri-Erewa reiterated the fact that many Nigerians outside the country are enthusiastic about being active participants in Nigerian affairs, particularly in homeward investments.

“So far, it is nice to see especially the younger ones getting involved and wanting to invest in one form or another, as well as give back ,and we support them in our capacity in order to encourage them”, she said.

The NiDCOM Chairman/CEO, added that a dedicated agency , if set up by Zimbabwe , will engage, enable and empower the Zimbabwean Diaspora, effectively.

Just like Nigeria, the NIDCOM chief stressed further the importance of rewriting its nation’s narrative through its diaspora to counteract the negative reportage by the Western media.

“Here, we find regular means of celebrating our diasporas to tell the world that not all Nigerians are frauds. Most times, the western media are quick to spread the negative stories about Nigeria but hardly will you see such energy when something good is done by a Nigerian”.

“Therefore, it is up to us to tell the world who we truly are as Nigerians”, she remarked.

Ambassador Maxwell Ranga, Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Nigeria, lauded Nigeria’s tactical forwardness in her engagement with her diaspora for nation building.

The envoy commended the astute leadership of Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa in bringing not only the Nigerian Diaspora closer to Nigeria but also the entire continent adding that, “we are here to learn from the best, our big brother, Nigeria, and we happy to be here”, he said.

He stressed that this action was key to replicate the Nigerian model in Zimbabwe, in terms of diaspora relations and engagement.

Mr Ranga informed that Zimbabwe had its first Investment Forum and Homecoming event last year, which drew Zimbabweans worldwide. He expressed his desire to have the NiDCOM chief as a guest speaker at the second edition which will hold in April this year.

Mrs Sienzeni Mateta, Director, Bilateral Trade and Diaspora, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Zimbabwe, stated that the Ministry is hugely invested in this project to properly harness the material, intellectual and human resources Zimbabwe has to offer in terms of diaspora engagement for national development.

The Study Tour of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) by Zimbabwe makes a total of Eight countries after Ethiopia, Egypt, Tanzania Namibia, Ghana, South Korea and Southetn African Development Community, (SADC).

Gabriel Odu

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