A cross-section of participants at the 2nd Global African Diaspora Symposium, at which 64 countries are represented, yesterday in Abuja, Nigeria/Photo: IOM Nigeria

Buhari challenges African diaspora at global conference in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Africans home and abroad to connect and create a common front through strategic frameworks to address the challenges arising in the new world order.

This was stated during his keynote address at the second edition of the Global African Diaspora Symposium (GADS) which opened on Thursday in Abuja.

Speaking through his representative Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, Minister of Transportation, Buhari stated that the theme this year, “Building stronger connections between Africa and the Global Diaspora”, is very apt and timely as African nations are looking towards the diaspora for continental development.

Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, Minister of Transportation, who represented President Muhamadu Buhari, speaking at the event/Photo: Mu’azu Jaji Sambo

The president equally stated that having Nigeria as this year’s host is very historic as the country is undergoing political transition to a new government, which will benefit diaspora engagement in the country.

He further added that the majority of Africans in the diaspora are blazing trails and effecting exploits wherever they are all over the world in all endeavours.

Buhari said that globally, the diaspora had become a force to be reckoned with, with regards to sustainable development of their varied homelands by regional bodies and national governments, through remittances, medical missions, educational visits, tourism and investment opportunities.

He applauded the African Diaspora Alliance for their endless support while charging them to remain steadfast as a model platform of connection, among the African Diaspora and Africa’s Institutions and governments.

Ugochi Daniels, Deputy Director General, Operations, at the International Organisation for Migration, speaking at the Global African Diaspora Symposium/Photo: IOM Nigeria

Driving it home Buhari equally commended the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), and the State Diaspora Focal Point Offices across the states of the federation for their contribution towards the strategic action plan on diaspora engagement in the socio-political and economic development of Nigeria.

The president concluded by saying that GADS as a forum should be institutionalised as a biannual event and used as a forum for monitoring and evaluating the progress of Africa’s engagement with its diaspora.

Similarly, the Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb Zubairu Dada, stated that GADS event is taking place at an auspicious moment, especially as the 21st century has been earmarked as the century of human mobility and migration.

The minister added that there is an estimate of more than 250 million migrants of which 40 million of them are of African origin. He noted that the figure is too much to ignore and it is imperative that Africa transforms its potential and Human Resources through an effective Diaspora engagement.

Amb Dada stressed the importance of the symposium, giving the level of detailed agenda and commitment of all stakeholders which will create an impactful policy recommendation for all relevant authorities.

Dignitaries at the opening ceremony yesterday in Abuja, Nigeria/Photo: NiDCOM

Also speaking at the event, the Chairman/CEO of NiDCOM, Hon Dr Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in her opening remarks said, “no matter how far a river flows it can never cut off from its source; please don’t cut off from your source, let us make this source (Africa) a beautiful place to be”.

The NiDCOM chief pointed out that such connection can only be built and is achievable through our diasporans. Nigerians are the most educated immigrants in the world across all sectors be it healthcare, agriculture and engineering.

She expressed enthusiasm at the symposium and urged the young generations of diaspora to explore ways in which our continent can be fully developed. She added that the African leaders and governments have a huge role to play by paving the way, so the continent can be the best in the world.

Sixty-four countries are participating in the GADS Symposium, holding on 27-28 April 2023 at the Rotunda Hall, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja.

Gabriel Odu

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