Stakeholders in the Africa diaspora remittances began a two-day Regional Consultative Meeting on Leveraging Remittances in Abuja.
The meeting being coordinated by the Africa Institute for Remittances (AIR) in collaboration with Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has as its theme: The Role of Regional Economic Committees (RECs), Fintechs and Remittance Service Providers (RSPs) on promoting Integrated Regional Approach.
Abdur-Rahman Balogun, NIDCOM’s head of media and public relations in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja said; “It is an inclusive approach to bring all relevant stakeholders together to examine the strategies and challenges of Diaspora Remittances in Africa.”
In his opening remarks, Dr. Sule Yakubu Bassi who represented the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa challenged the gathering to look into urgent needs as it relates to diaspora remittances.
“The issue of high cost of money transfers to Africa which is up to 8 per cent, the issue of unrecorded transfers through informal channels and the need to metamorphose diaspora remittances from social safety nets to real investment for development”, he stressed.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria has always valued and cherished the Diaspora especially in terms of human capital resources and the positive values they add to our Nation which makes them an important sector of economic development, ” Bassi added.
Dr. Mohammed Tumala, Director Statistics, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in his own opening remarks described the meeting as an avenue that will open doors for apex bank to interact with the Diaspora.
“We have studied the flow patterns of remittances from the side of Nigeria. Now we need to understand the issues and challenges from the side of the Diaspora to create enabling environment for their contributions to National development,” he said.
Amadou Cisse, Executive Director ,AIR, commended the Federal Government of Nigeria through its Agency, NiDCOM for its commitments to remittance development.
“The establishment of NiDCOM as well as adoption of the National Diaspora Policy are critical milestones that show the strong commitment of the government to engage its diaspora for social and economic development of the economy. “
These are in perfect harmony with the current work of the AIR, ” he stressed.
Cisse added that this inclusive approach of collaborating with key stakeholders like Public Institutions, Private Sector Operators, International Organisations, Diaspora Organisations and other stakeholders, aims at providing to the AU member states the required strategic tool to reap the potential benefits of remittances.
He noted that the active participation of the Diaspora in designing and implementing development programmes is considered as one of the key drivers towards attaining the institute’s objectives.
AIR is a specialised technical office of the African Union Commission (AUC) established to assist AU member states.
Its mandate include regulation of remittance, promoting reforms and regulatory frameworks for remittances in the use of innovative technologies to improve compilation and reporting systems as well as leveraging diaspora resources for social development.