Dr RosaLyn Dressman, president of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Germany (NIDOG), has been appointed Ambassador for Investment of Bayelsa State by Governor Douye Diri.
With a population of about 1.7 million, Bayelsa, one of Nigeria’s 36 federal states, is situated in the southern coastal region of the country and is rich in oil and gas deposits as well as in marine resources.
Ms Dressman, an international social entrepreneur, was received last week after her appointment by the Special Adviser to Bayelsa State Governor on Investment, Hon. (Dr.) Jonathan R. Obuebite, in his office in Yenagoa.
Obuebite praised Dressman, who is also the CEO of the international social and development organisation AfricanTide Union e.V., for her immense contributions to the development of the state and expressed the hope that she would deploy her extensive networks in Europe to attract direly needed investments to the state.
Dressman’s new position is a new one designed to mobilise the Nigerian diaspora for increased engagement in the development efforts of Bayelsa State. Many federal states in Nigeria have Senior Special Assistants on the Diaspora to the Governor, a position similar to Dressman’s.
As an Investment Ambassador, Dr Dressman is expected to advertise the opportunities for trade and investment in Bayelsa State to the international business community. She is also expected to engage European development agencies and non-governmental organisations, among others, for partnership with the government of Bayelsa State for the realisation of social development projects.
“I thank His Excellency Douye Diri for this appointment because it’s a recognition of my little contributions,” Dressman told Dr Obuebite. “I will do my best to make Bayelsa a main destination of international investment in Nigeria,” she added.
Speaking to The African Courier in an exclusive interview, Dressman said her focus as investment ambassador would be “the improvement of human wellbeing” in the state, which is very rich in hydrocarbon deposits, but whose people face the challenges of poverty and environmental degradation caused by the activities of oil and gas exploration and production by multinational companies.
“The investment we should focus on is the one that significantly reduces environmental and ecological risks while promoting the creation of wealth and jobs for Bayelsans,” Dressman said, while calling for an increased focus on the development of the ‘Blue Economy’ – economic activities related to oceans, seas and coasts, to modernise the traditional livelihood of the people of the region. According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem.”
Dressman said while she would, of course, not neglect the opportunities in the oil and gas industry, she would also place premium on the education and training of youths, which she described as “the only way to build a future of sustained social and economic development for the state”.
Dortmund, Germany-based AfricanTide Union runs an educational institute in Yenagoa that trains youths in technical skills. The organisation is also active in several projects in the state focusing on empowerment of young people and women.
The news of Dressman’s appointment has been hailed by the Nigerian community in Germany.
“Your appointment is a loud recognition of the importance of the Diaspora to national development,” NIDO Germany said in a congratulatory message, while pledging the support of the group to Dressman in the course of fulfilling her mission.
“Congratulations to Dr Dressman, who with her team both at NIDO Germany and AfricanTide have executed social development projects in Nigeria and have therefore proved that the most valuable contribution of the Diaspora to Nigerian development is not the remittances but the ideas and execution know-how we bring to the table,” said Ademuyiwa Adeyemi, a prominent member of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDOE) and its immediate past financial secretary, said in his comments welcoming the appointment.
“I love Testimonies! This is an amazing Testimony undoubtedly. Plenty thanks, Dr Dressman, for the great impact you have made as the President of NIDO Germany. Keep the flow and enjoy the glow,” Prof Courage Ijeghede said.