A cross-section of the audience at the Africa Day in Dortmund. Right is Vivian Timothy, Germany-based award-winning artist / Photo: AfricanTide Union e.V.

Kenneth Gbandi challenges Diaspora on a more active role in African development

The chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation in Europe (NIDOE), Kenneth Gbandi, has called on the African Diaspora to become more actively engaged in the continent’s development. Gbandi made the call at the Africa Day Dortmund, organized by the non-governmental organization AfricanTide Union, recently.

“For us the time of talking in NIDOE is over, the time for action has come,” Gbandi declared, announcing that the organisation was making concrete efforts for a more active engagement in Nigeria’s development.

At the 3-day congress, co-hosted by NIDOE, Gbandi presented several projects which the organisation was currently implementing, including the Nigerian Diaspora Village, which will provide housing across cities and towns in Nigeria. The project offers Nigerians abroad a very reliable investment opportunity, he told the audience of diplomats, activists, journalists, Diaspora Africans and German officials.

Gbandi also spoke on the Nigerian Diaspora Bonds, whose international marketing commenced this week, which he described as a golden chance for Nigerians to invest in the long-term development of the country and also grow their capital.

Kenneth Gbandi, NIDOE chairman, making a presentation of one of the organisation’s projects in Dortmund / Photo: AfricanTide Union e.V.

NIDOE seeks to raise one million euros until the end of 2018 to enable it effectively finance its operations, Gbandi announced at the event.

Colins Nweke, Belgium-based development expert and communal politician, revealed that there are funds available at the European Commission which Diaspora Africans could access for the implementation of their projects. He mentioned the EU Migration Trust Fund, which was established by EU leaders at the EU-Africa Summit in Valleta, Malta, in November 2015, advising that those who have projects should identify partners to profit from the Fund.

Nweke, a former NIDOE chairman who contested for a seat in the European Parliament in 2014, said Africa’s problems would become Europe’s if not attended to as the current migration crisis shows. He advised Africans in Europe to raise their voice by contributing to the formulation of migration policies, assuring them that they will find listening ears.

Kenyan-born motivational speaker and serial entrepreneur Steve Odhiambo, in his contribution, said the problems in Africa do indeed present business opportunities and he challenged the Diaspora to step up their investments in the continent.

Collins Nweke delivers its speech at the event / Photo: AfricanTide Union e.V.

Odhiambo, who is the chief executive of Pro Data, a company that develops software applications for the healthcare and other sectors, said the Diaspora should identify business opportunities in their various home countries and exploit these opportunities. He repeated what experts have always said that the return on investment in Africa is very high.

Odhiambo, who is also the founder of ukowapi, a mobile solutions startup that specialises in location-based services, pointed out that opportunities abound in the informal sector and that small-scale investment does pay off handsomely.

Presentations were made by German companies offering products and services that are relevant to solving problems such as the lack of drinkable water, non-availability of electricity and paucity of skills among youths in Africa.

Gold Power Energy, a company involved in security technology, infrastructure solutions, electrification and renewable energy, presented a concept for a Nigerian Solar Academy that will train young people in solar energy skills. Another company, Mundus Fluid AG, presented its product for the portable treatment of water for use in households and in places like hospitals, offices and farms.

Dr RosaLyn Dressman, chairperson of AfricanTide Union, called on the Diaspora to help in finding solutions to the problems confronting Africa, which are responsible for irregular migration from the continent / Photo: AfricanTide Union e.V.

Dr RosaLyn Dressman, chairperson of AfricanTide Union, believes that the African Diaspora has a big role to play in seeking solutions to problems affecting the continent. She explained that her organisation partnered NIDOE for the congress because Nigeria is a major country of origin of migrants.

Mrs Dressman, a development and migration expert, said Diaspora Africans already support their compatriots at home but that their role in development goes beyond that. She called on the Diaspora to help in finding solutions to the problems confronting Africa, which are responsible for irregular migration from the continent.

The Africa Day in Dortmund, which took place on 25-27 May under the theme “Agenda 2030: Sustainable Development Goals”, was held concurrently with the NIDOE Project Summit 2017.

Femi Awoniyi

About AfricanTide Union

AfricanTide Union e.V. was founded in 2010 to promote the integration of migrants, especially from the African continent, and to make a lasting contribution to intercultural understanding and mutual respect in Germany. The non-governmental organisation also deals with the issues of development and migration.

More about the organisation at: http://www.africantide.com

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