by Rachel Ogbu
It has been an ongoing debate on if the returning of Nigerians Abroad is aiding or afflicting the Nigerian economy. Different people have very diverse views on this and it can be argued extensively; are Nigerians from Diaspora hurting or helping the nation?
This week on YNaija, we would look at the various aspects to this debate by highlighting the statistics, sampling opinions and publishing research. We ask for you to join in the discussion too.
“So long as our collective voice and our money continue to engage the continent, our political influence won’t be far behind”- TMS Ruge.
National President of the All Nigerian Nationals in Diaspora, ANNID, Peter Mozie, last year believed with the current empowering environment provided by the Jonathan administration, Diasporas were self-assured to bring their investments into the country in order to add value to the transformation agenda.
“The current statistics from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) shows Diasporas have been remitting over $10 billion yearly into the country and after the convention the amount is expected to be doubled or tripled.”
“We are coming en masse with our investments in all sectors to add value to the transformation agenda of this present administration,” he said.
True to his word, on February 4, the International Organisation for Migration, IOM, revealed that Africans in diaspora sent a total of $60 billion to the continent in 2012.
Nigeria was ranked fifth place among the top recipients of diaspora transfer of funds, the World Bank reported.
India was top in the list of countries whose citizens send a lot of money back home.
On hearing the new ranking, Speaker House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, praised Nigerians in Diaspora over their contributions towards the economic development of the country.
Tambuwal acknowledged that Nigerians in diaspora have helped immensely in elevating the living standards of their families in Nigeria and that Nigerians in diaspora could play fundamental roles in government’s effort to advance the social and economic development in the country.
Tambuwal said the government was now working on methods to encourage Nigerians living abroad to always think of home and contribute more profoundly to national development.
He said that in addition to monetary remittances, Nigerians living abroad would be encouraged to invest in emerging industries in Nigeria.
On February 6, The Guardian UK reported on how the African diaspora was also using social media to raise funding for projects on the continent.
According to the report, last year, an organisation calledAfricans in Diaspora, raised $40,000 from 234 contributors to fund community development programs around Africa. The procedure termed crowd funding strategy for community development is a new method of engaging with the continent from the outside and it makes $60bn annually. “Where we were previously sending money home to support one-to-one solutions, we are now crowd-sourcing assistance to strengthen service delivery mechanisms in our communities for all to benefit,” says TMS Ruge, the lead social media strategist at Connect4Climate, World Bank.
TMS Ruge explains that social media can also be an immense tool for cross-border collaboration. “As we begin to leverage the power of social media and uncensored, international discourse, we should be careful not to alienate those with experience and expertise,” he said.
According to the latest World Bank figures money sent back home known as remittance money, topped $530bn in 2012, with Nigeria in the top 5.
That amount is three times more over ten years and is even triple the total global aid budgets despite the recession.