The first-ever Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit took place in Abuja on 27-29 November. Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who delivered the keynote address at the event, and participating ministers outlined opportunities and incentives for Nigerians resident abroad to invest in their homeland.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, in his address to the conference, asserted that the federal government “strongly seek the cooperation and continued engagement of the Nigerian Diaspora” in its efforts to reposition the Nigerian economy, especially under the aegis of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). He explained that the Buhari administration offered opportunities for the Diaspora to invest in Nigeria through the National Social Housing Programme and Foreign Currency Bonds.
“In 2017, we launched Nigeria’s first-ever Diaspora Bond which was over-subscribed. We also launched our first-ever Sukuk and Green Bonds, we were the first country in Africa to launch a Green Bond, all of which are investment opportunities we think can be of advantage to those in the Diaspora,” Osinbajo said. “We will shortly be issuing a second Diaspora bond.”
The vice president also talked about the government’s ‘Diaspora Medical Assistance Programme’ that will encourage Nigerian medical professionals abroad to provide volunteer health services in Nigeria. “These initiatives and many more will be driven to implementation by the newly established Diaspora Commission, working hand-in-hand with other government agencies, the private sector and the diaspora community,” he added.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, announced at the event that the federal government would support diaspora investors with credit facility to enable them invest in different sectors of the economy especially the agricultural sector.
Ogbe said the Bank of Industry would make the credit facility available to investors in the agricultural sector at a very low interest rate, assuring that the facility would be ready “within 90 days”.
“Agriculture is the most viable sector you can invest because it has a high returns on investment, for instance, you can invest in Castro oil production, farming, cattle and milk production, fisheries, and cashew nut processing,” the minister said.
He also promised to create a diaspora desk at the ministry of agriculture for quick access to information and enquiries.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, urged diaspora investors to also invest in the energy and housing sectors of the economy.
Fashola said the Buhari administration had done much in the area of housing but required private investment. He assured that the government would continue with its intervention on road projects across the federation.
West Africa’s largest independent fibre optic infrastructure and telecommunications services provider – Phase3 Telecom said it will continue to support efforts targeted at attracting diaspora investments for sustainable economic growth and diversification.
According to the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Stanley Jegede, it is a great honour for Phase3 Telecom to join hands with government bodies and institutions that are focused on engendering the active participation of the nation’s Diasporas in socio-economic development particularly through the ICT sector.
More than 300 Nigerians living outside the country attended the event, which seeks to mobilize the diaspora to invest in Nigeria.