No better time to move back: The Economic importance of Nigerians in Diaspora

 

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by Adetayo Adesola

Perhaps there is no better time for Nigerians abroad to come back home. The rise of xenophobia and left-wing populism in western nations has rocked the very foundations of the society as we know it, particularly exemplified by the emergence of Donald Trump as the President of America, and Brexit last year.

Although there are some positive benefits of emigration, of which include; better education, infrastructural facilities, jobs and an opportunity to compete with the best in the world but it is  important to note that Nigeria is suffering from a huge ‘Brain Drain’ the movement of highly skilled people to a country offering better opportunities, majorly because of past government failures and the success of Nigerians abroad.

Lets also not forget that the diaspora community contributes indirectly to the Nigerian economy. In 2012, Nigerians in diaspora remitted $12 billion to the Nigerian economy, more than 34 of the 36 states, only Lagos and Rivers had a higher GDP. The Premium times reported that in 2015, Nigerians in diaspora remitted a staggering $21 billion. Despite these positives, the Nigerian economy has failed to properly utilize and gain from Nigerians in diaspora, and this trend is deleterious to the Nigerian economy.

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The present government must enact policies that act as incentives for highly-skilled compatriots in diaspora to come back home to invest and perhaps rebuild the economy. Areas like technology, finance, and education should be given high-priorities and funding must be made available. The knowledge gained by Nigerians over there can be tailor made to suit our needs here, and used to develop industry and revive the economy.

For those who believe the amount of money remitted by Nigerians in diaspora is enough for the Nigerian economy, and that there is no dire need for a ‘Move back to Nigeria campaign’. What must be taken into cognizance is that the labor of Nigerians in their respective foreign countries is generating more income, and creating more solutions to economic and societal problems there than here.

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