By Fortune Abang
Abuja – The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, has called on Nigeria diaspora to always leverage on the Nigerian Economic Diplomacy Initiative (NEDI), to contribute to the development of their country.
Onyeama made the call in his address at the three-day Nigeria Diaspora Summit 2018 on the theme “activating diaspora investment in diversified economy” held on Tuesday in Abuja.
The event was organised by the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, in collaboration with Nigeria Diaspora Alumni Network (NiDAN).
He said the initiative sought to encourage use of global platform of the Ministry through its existing 114 Embassies and Missions, to match Nigerian businesses with business opportunities around the world.
According to him, we as a government leverage on your skills to foster development of this country.
Onyeama said “one of the first tasks in moving the Ministry forward was to look at how we can monitor important development concepts as they go on in diaspora.
“So, we developed the NEDI and set up a portal as one-stop-shop to engage, assess and leverage on the skills of Nigeria diaspora.
“This portal is an opportunity for you in the diaspora to be able to upload your profile.
“Specifically, your skills, educational qualification and other things, which will be made available to Nigerians, to governments, private sector, investors and instant match making of businesses.
“It will be difficult for us as country to achieve the kind of development that we aspire to build for ourselves without engagement of Nigerians in the diaspora.”
The minister decried the issue about illegal migration by Nigerians in the quest for greener pastures to be major challenge that still affected the nation-building process.
He said that the ministry had resolved to create room to showcase economic potential about the country to the outside world and urged the participants to also invest in their fatherland to achieve meaningful growth.
Speaking, the High Commissioner of Rwanda to Nigeria, Mr Stanislas Kamanzi, described the event as key in terms of boosting social economic growth of the country.
The Envoy described the diaspora as vital constituency every governments should endeavour to establish constant relation with mutual beneficial aim, moved by principle of equal rights for citizens of all nations.
According to him, in Rwanda, we have reaped tremendous benefits in unleashing the potential of the diaspora and we are convinced about even more greater strides to be made, going forward.
Kamanzi said “It will help to harness and streamline mechanism for the Nigeria diaspora to play a significant and rightful role in attracting direct investment to the country.
“It is challenging debate, but engaging in it with resolve and purpose is even more exciting in due consideration of the remarkable size, quality and diversity of Nigerian Diaspora across the world.”
Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, urged Nigerian diaspora to support the Federal Government’s quest to move the nation forward.
She defined diaspora as a veritable tool for the socio-economic growth of the country and advised Nigerians in diaspora to always be responsible in their host countries,
According to her, we will always collaborate with NiDAN and European Union to sensitise Nigerians to understand the importance of investing in their country to achieve desired goals.
In a remark, Dr Badewa Adejugbe-Williams, National Coordinator of NiDAN, described Nigeria as potential place that business could thrive and urged the participants to cease opportunity of the summit to network.
According to her, investment in Nigeria will enhance the economic growth of the country.
“Nigeria is better place for our people, our aim is to for us to work together to be able to achieve meaningful economic growth,” Adejugbe-Williams said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit which started from Nov. 27 to Nov. 29, seeks to encourage Nigerians to learn best practices in business and self-reliance. (NAN)