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Hon. Kenneth Gbandi, current Coordinating Chairman, NIDO Worldwide (right), and Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman/CEO of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), at the general meeting of NIDOE in Vienna, November 2018. The Nigerian Diaspora Day is organised by NIDCOM in collaboration with NIDO Worldwide / Photo: TAC

Nigerians in Diaspora head to Abuja to discuss national development

Nigerians from across the globe will converge on their country’s capital Abuja on 24-25 July for this year’s Nigerian Diaspora Day.

The annual event brings together foreign-based Nigerians and representatives of the federal and state governments to discuss areas of possible partnership in national development.

The theme of this year’s Day, organised by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) in collaboration with the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), is ‘The Power of the Nigerian Diaspora for National development’.

The conference will explore how to integrate the diaspora into the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government. Another important issue to be deliberated upon is how the country could provide opportunities for returning Nigerian experts to serve their country.

Dr Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State, will deliver the keynote address / Photo: EKSG

 

Dr Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State, will deliver the keynote address, entitled “The Diaspora as a Veritable Resource for National Development”. The scholar and politician, who lived in the UK before returning home in 2001 to participate in politics, is also the current Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum.

Also billed to address the conference are Ms Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NIDCOM; Mr Kenneth Gbandi, Chairman of NIDO Europe and current Coordinating Chairman, NIDO Worldwide; and Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo, Managing Director, Fidelity Bank Plc.

The huge economic importance of the Nigerian diaspora is illustrated by the sheer size of its remittances. Last year, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria, money sent by citizens abroad totalled US$24.3 billion while the country’s oil and gas exports amounted to US$15 billion. And it was the third straight year that money sent by Nigerians living outside their homeland would surpass the country’s chief export revenue. This means that remittances are now the biggest source of foreign exchange receipt of Africa’s biggest economy and crude oil producer.

Beyond remittances, diaspora contribution to national development also takes the forms of know-how transfer and facilitation of direct foreign investment, among others. Moreover, there’s the talk of the “enlightened Diaspora perspective” on issues of governance which makes an increased engagement of foreign-based citizens in national development an imperative.

It has therefore become important for Nigeria to find ways of furthering the integration of its citizens abroad into the processes of governance and development.

Nigerian governments at all levels and their agencies have been appointing foreign-based citizens into important positions. The ongoing debate is how this process of engagement can be broadened and institutionalised.

The Nigerian Diaspora Day 2019 is expected to put forward concrete policy ideas to enable the Diaspora play a more active and robust role in national development.

Femi Awoniyi

More information about the Nigerian Diaspora Day 2019 at: https://nidomnidong.org

Programme of Events

  • Wednesday 24 July 2019, Arrivals and Registration
  • Venue: Top Rank Hotels Galaxy, 245 P.O.W. Mafeni Crescent, Utako, Abuja
  • Thursday 25 July 2019, Conference
  • Venue: Conference Hall, PTDF, Central Business District, Abuja

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