Nigeria is billed to hold its third diaspora investment summit to boost remittances from abroad.
Convened by Nigeria Diaspora Summit Initiative (NDSI) in collaboration with Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), the summit will run virtually from November 20 till the next day.
The event will be declared open by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo with the theme, “Post-COVID-19 Economic Resurgence: Targeting Diaspora Investment”.
It is free for participants but pitchers are to pay N15,000, according to the Chairman, NiDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Eerewa, at a briefing in Abuja on Monday.
Mrs Dabiri-Eerewa, however, did not give any reason for the stipulated amount.
The summit will highlight investment opportunities and development framework put in place to make investing in Nigeria more attractive to Nigeria Diaspora investors.
The NiDCOM boss said the summit was birthed “when the Nigerian government was examining long-term investment instruments for overseas Nigerians so that they could benefit and contribute to the nation’s economy.”
Underlining the need for two-way engagement between Nigeria and its diaspora, Mrs Dabiri-Eerewa said “the summit is one of the numerous initiatives the government aims to have greater participation of the diaspora in the country’s economic success”.
With an estimated 15 million diaspora population in over 100 countries, Nigeria hit $17.57 billion in direct remittance inflows from overseas in 2019, according to its Central Bank.
It rose by 56.4 per cent from $11.23 billion in 2018.
Glimmer of hope
With the global economy struggling to recoup from the pandemic, Mrs Dabiri-Eerewa said now is the best time to invest in Nigeria.
“COVID will go away, our lives will be normal again but this is the best time to invest in our country.
“The good thing is that every state now has a focal person on diaspora matters who will make available investment opportunities to participants,” she said.
This year’s summit focuses on following key sectors: Healthcare, Education, Agribusiness, Creative, Entertainment & Sports, Telecommunication, ICT/Fintech, Manufacturing and Real Estate.
In addition, the summit will address challenges of the two previous summits as well as showcase success stories of “those who dared to return home to invest.”
Meanwhile, the NiDCOM said the summit will discuss issues on Nigerians in Ghana and elsewhere, who are facing harsh conditions.
Citing the 753 Nigerian business owners in Ghana who expressed interest in returning home, she said the ministries of interior, foreign affairs and industry, trade and investment were working to resolve the diplomatic row that was sparked by the closure of shops belonging to Nigerians in Ghana.
“753 actually signed the document that says they want to return to Nigeria. So with this request from them, what is going on now is that the three ministers involved will have some engagement with them to see what actually should be the next thing.
“Now you’ve said you want to come to your country, so there should be no problem about that. They are Nigerians and we are proud of them and glad to return them home.
“‘But they must return to something meaningful. Like one of them said to me when they came to NIDCOM office, a lot of them have been there for over 25 years; so just uprooting yourself for not committing any crime – the only crime they’ve committed is that they are very good at their trade, at their jobs,” she said.
The Chairperson, NDSI, Badewa Adejugbe-Williams, explained the initiative further.
She noted that “there is no better time for the summit than now as it will attract investors to the country as the nation needs to focus on the social and economic imperatives of our country.”
Mrs Adejugbe-Williams said “the summit will help expand businesses, increase earnings, and address youth restiveness with job provision.”
The summit is expected to attract over 3,000 participants.