Africa Diaspora, Catalyst For Continental Development – NiDCOM Chairman
(2nd from right) Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, NIDCOM, (2nd from Left) Amb. Maxwell Ranga, Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Nigeria, (1st from Right) Engr Dr Yakubu Sule Bassi, Secretary to NIDCOM and Mrs Sienzeni Mateta, Director: Bilateral Trade and Diaspora, Min of Foreign Affairs and Intl Trade, on study tour of NIDCOM in Abuja.

By Olushola Okunlade

For Africa to experience socio-economic resurgence, prosperity, and development, the onus lies with Africans at home and more importantly its Diaspora.

Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, (NiDCOM), Hon. Dr. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, stated this when she received a delegation from Zimbabwe led by its High Commissioner to Nigeria Amb. Maxwell Ranga, on a study tour of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, in Abuja.

Dabiri-Erewa expressed joy that more African States are beginning to recognise the worth of their Diasporas, as she noted that these Diasporas are the catalysts for a progressive continent and cannot be ignored.

She asserted that this intentionality can produce a synergy between Africans and Africans in the diaspora, to proffer solutions that will revive the socio-economic situation of the continent and build the Africa of our dreams.

The NiDCOM Boss was impressed with the Zimbabwean Government’s interest in its Diaspora explaining that NiDCOM, being the official Agency for diaspora relations and engagement in Nigeria, has taken pragmatic steps in her engagement and empowerment of the Nigerian Diaspora.

Some of the steps include but are not limited to: the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Summit, the National Diaspora Day and National Diaspora Merit Awards, the Diaspora Housing Scheme, the Badagry Door of Return Festival, Diaspora Medical Outreaches, Presidential Diaspora Townhall Meetings, Interventions, the Establishment of the NiDCOM Act and the formation of the National Diaspora Policy, as well as, partnering with non-political and professional diaspora groups and government agencies that align with the Commission’s objectives, mandates and goals, among others.

Dabiri-Erewa expressed that it has been rewarding as many Nigerians outside the country are enthusiastic about being active participants in Nigerian affairs, particularly in homeward investments.

“So far, it is nice to see especially the younger ones getting involved and wanting to invest in one form or another, and we support them in our capacity to encourage them”, she said.

The NiDCOM Chairman/CEO, therefore, urged the Zimbabwean Government to create an agency that deals strictly with their diaspora, stating that “it is not about the numbers but what they can do.”

She added that the dedicated agency should be a strong environment that will engage, enable, and empower the Zimbabwean Diaspora, effectively.

Just like Nigeria, the NiDCOM Boss stressed further the importance of rewriting its nation’s narrative through its diaspora to counteract the negative reportage by the Western media.

“Here, we find regular means of celebrating our diasporas to tell the world that not all Nigerians are frauds. Most times, the Western media are quick to spread the negative stories about Nigeria but hardly will you see such energy when something good is done by a Nigerian”.

“Therefore, it is up to us to tell the world who we truly are as Nigerians”, she remarked.

Amb. Maxwell Ranga, Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Nigeria, lauded Nigeria’s tactical forwardness in her engagement with her diaspora for nation building.

The Envoy commended the astute leadership of Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa in bringing not only the Nigerian Diaspora closer to Nigeria but also the entire continent adding, “We are here to learn from the best, our big brother, Nigeria and we are happy to be here”, he said.

He stressed that this action was key to replicating the Nigerian model in Zimbabwe, in terms of diaspora relations and engagement.

Amb. Ranga informed that Zimbabwe had its first Investment Forum and Homecoming event, last year, which drew all Zimbabweans worldwide. He expressed his desire to have the NiDCOM Boss as a guest speaker at the second edition which will be held in April, this year.

Mrs. Sienzeni Mateta, Director, Bilateral Trade and Diaspora, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Zimbabwe, stated that the Ministry is hugely invested in this project to properly harness the material, intellectual, and human resources Zimbabwe has to offer in terms of diaspora engagement for national development.

The Study Tour of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) by Zimbabwe makes a total of Eight countries after Ethiopia, Tanzania Namibia, Ghana, South Korea, and Southern African Development Community, (SADC).



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