By Cynthia Alo
The Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, yesterday, called for increased collaboration of Nigerians in the diaspora to support the nation in achieving its economic growth targets.
Onyeagwu made this call during the 4th edition of the Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit 2021 organised by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) and tagged: “Partnership and Linkages for Post-Covid Economic Growth”,
According to him, this year’s theme is apt as it underscores Nigeria’s need for robust growth following the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered a severe macroeconomic shock.
On the need for partnership and collaboration of Nigerians in the diaspora, Onyeagwu pointed out that across the globe, the diaspora community plays critical role in their home country’s economic growth and development.
He stated: “Nigeria has enormous potential to attract significant diaspora inflow, most of which is coming in through informal channels. These remittance inflows and investments, which are counter-cyclical, help in ameliorating foreign exchange challenges as the funds form a significant buffer for the country’s foreign reserves.”
Onyeagwu identified the healthcare sector as one area where diaspora investment and intervention are urgently required.
In his words, “By leveraging the expertise of our diaspora healthcare professionals in some of the emerging world-class health facilities in Nigeria, such as Evercare Hospital, Ibom Specialist Hospital and Base University Hospital, we can begin to curb the loss of foreign exchange to medical tourism”.
He called on the various associations and groups of Nigerians in the diaspora to pull resources together and identify viable investment opportunities in the homeland while commending the efforts of NIDCOM in supporting the engagement of Nigerians in diaspora in the country’s policies, projects, and development programmes.
Onyeagwu canvassed that the narrative should shift from diaspora remittance to Diaspora Direct Investment as advocated by Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa and Mr. EmekaOffor, Acting Executive Secretary/CEO, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).
While highlighting Nigeria’s enormous investment potential noting that the nation’s huge market and youthful population is a veritable source of labour and a consuming population he noted that Zenith Bank has continued to play its part in promoting investment in Nigeria.