Our natural resource(s) extends beyond our borders. By this, the author means, our abundant human resources in Diaspora. It’s not in doubt that over 19 million of us live in Diaspora. Therefore, before calling for foreign direct investment or calling on foreigners to come and invest in Nigeria, the first call should be on fellow Nigerians to come home and invest. After all, charity begins at home. India has experimented this model with massive economic boosts. Meanwhile, in the absence of oil revenue, remittances from Nigerians in Diaspora accounts for the second largest source(s) of foreign exchange. Who then should drive this change, for more economic boost from our folks abroad?
Government, organized private sector, NGO’s, and Nigerians should focus more on this under tapped sector of our economy. Some private sector establishments have performed creditably well in this direction. I could recall several job fairs/recruitment drives organized in UK by some many Nigerian firms. It will be a good idea for the private sector to continue, driving this initiative of tapping into our foreign human resources/reserves.
For our economy to develop, there is need for competitiveness with other emerging economies. Here our human reserves in Diaspora, comes handy to complement the human resources at home. There is also the need to inject technological and skills transfer into our system. The cheap way to do this will be to start taping into these huge resources/reserves overseas.
The author has been privileged to meet a lot of Nigerians who came to United Kingdom, looking for projects to copy and domesticate in Nigeria. The author also belongs to the school of thoughts that believes technology should be copied. The Asian tigers copied western technologies, and today their economies are even ahead of some European nations. Till date, the author is yet to see any nation prosecuted for coping technology. For those who produce Aba made etc, my advise is for them to copy better technology so as to improve on their qualities and quantities.
The author suggests synergy and sincerity between people at home and those in Diaspora. With trust and confidence, more investments will flow into our economy. It’s important for Nigerians on both sides of the divide to establish trust. The passion to come home and invest runs high in every Nigerian I have come across in the west. Lack of trust is amongst one of the stumbling blocks to foreign capital inflow.
Another reason is that, East, West, North or South, home is the best. In fact, the moment you board a foreign airline leaving Nigeria, you become a second class citizen (It doesn’t matter if you have American, British, Canadian, European or Chinese citizenships). In these circumstances, you have no choice but to appreciate home. Furthermore, when one eventually arrives the western countries, social mobility becomes too difficult. Assimilation is near impossible. Racism is rife. Xenophobia and anti immigration sentiments are on the high, examples being the mass shooting at a Norwegian youth camp and the rise of far right political groups/parties.
In all, the author understands that, there are a lot the government can do to facilitate tapping into our huge human resources/reserves in Diaspora. But for obvious reasons, let’s pretend the government do not exist and let the citizens lead this approach. May God bless Nigeria.
Chinedu Vincent Akuta.
An Activist and Citizens Journalist.