By Bukar Bolori
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has guaranteed Nigerians in the Diaspora of security and good returns on their investment in the country.
Osinbajo gave the promise on Tuesday at the opening of the 4th Nigerian Diaspora Investment Summit 2021 organised by Nigeria Diaspora Summit Initiative (NDIS) and Nigerian in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), with the theme “ Diaspora partnership and Linkages for post-Covid Economic Growth”.
He noted that the country’s post Covid recovery cannot be achieved without the partnership and deep involvement of the Diaspora and foreign investors, among others.
The Vice President in his keynote address, which was presented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, also pointed out that the government was disarious in diversifying the country’s economy.
He said: “Recovering the economy of the nation cannot be achieved by the government alone; we need the partnership and deep involvement of the Diaspora and foreign investors, among others, investing in local businesses to boost and diversify the economy.
“It is this realization that has driven this Administration’s support for the NDIS as a clarion call to our Diaspora and their friends to come and invest in a land of boundless opportunities and possibilities like the Chinese, Indians, Lebanese, Israelis and South Africans are already and successfully doing here in Nigeria. Last year witnessed a number of Diaspora investors heeding that call and it is encouraging to note that even more have turned up this year. We assure you of our commitment to ensure that your investments are not only secure but that you get a good rate of return on the investments you make, while basking in the glow of being contributors to the growth of business and development of the nation.”
He added that: “We remain steadfast in our goal of diversifying the economic resource base of the nation and so seek to activate and encourage multifarious investment options. The Nigerian Diaspora, who are not only familiar with the investment terrain, understand the risks and have personal interest and stake in the future of this country, but have also been acclaimed as one of the largest, brightest and most enigmatic Diaspora group in the world, are clearly a desired and desirable base to rely on and partner with in boosting our Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for development.
“We look to your emotional and logical connections with this great land of ours with which you have chosen to maintain links and your clear recognition of the abundant economic possibilities inherent in investing in its growth and development. We invite you to continue to explore ways and means of leveraging activities such as the Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit to not only expand your wealth but also develop a nation you wish to come back to.”
He noted that the investment summit “is in consonance with the Administration’s expectation of an expansion of the economic base through Diaspora investment. I certainly hope therefore that the Business to Business (B2B) connections on which this Summit is structured will result in the stated outcomes of attracting meaningful and sustainable Diaspora investments to boost economic growth and development of Nigeria.”
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, NiDCOM said partnership with Nigerians in Diaspora are essential for credible response with lasting effects to the impact of Covid.
Dabiri-Erewa, who commended the Nigerians in Diaspora for their support to the country at the height of the Covid pandemic said “if there is one single lesson to be learnt from this, it is the African proverb that says if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together. It simply means that partnerships are essential for credible response with lasting effects.”
She said: “Therefore in the quest of the Federal Government to go far in repositioning the economy in this post Covid era, there is a need to partner with the Diaspora in achieving these goals. This is why the Summit with this year’s theme being Diaspora Partnership and Linkages for Post-COVID Economic Growth is very apt because it creates that avenue and platform of partnership between the Government and the Diaspora in attracting investment into local business and thus enhancing Foreign Direct Investment in the country.
“Beyond this, NDIS has over the years been expanding its participants’ network, showcasing their products and services to target audiences such as the Diaspora investors, sponsors and government actors. Besides, it has been providing pro bono coaching and mentoring services to pitchers on how best to sell their business and attract investment. This goes to show that the Summit is not just keen on attracting foreign Direct Investment but ensuring that the capacities of local businesses, most especially those that participate in the Summit, are significantly enhanced.”
On her part, the Summit Coordinator, Dr. Badewa Adejugbe-Wilaims pointed out that “there are a great number of well-trained, resourceful, and talented Nigerians in the Diaspora who are in various business sectors, including healthcare, real-estate, and agribusiness, just to mention a few, who have made a mark in their various fields and have over the years demonstrated their strong desire to give back and help in developing the country. It will be tragic if the country fails to partner with these set of Diaspora and attract their investments into the country’s small and medium enterprises in a bid to grow the country’s economy.
“This summit is therefore apt, as it creates a platform for the Diaspora to invest in SMES in the country and further demonstrates that targeting the Diaspora for inward investment is one of the best strategies to drive socio-economic growth and development in the country. I would also like participants to note that this year’s event is peculiar in that it plans to host a Diaspora Housing Fair, where all Nigerians in the Diaspora will be availed of various opportunities to own their homes in Nigeria seamlessly.”