On August 16 and 17, LEAD Nigeria will host the fourth annual Nigerian Leadership Summit in New York City. Africa.com is a proud media sponsor of the two-day event created to bring together young Nigerian professionals from across the diaspora. This year’s theme is “Developing A Road Map for Engaging the Nigerian Diaspora in Development.”
Panel discussions will address topics like youth unemployment, good governance, and other issues most pressing to the country’s young people. In this post, LEAD Nigeria’s founder Ifeanyi Obinali, discusses why diaspora engagement plays an important role in the development of Nigeria and the continent as a whole:
Developing a road map for engaging the African Diaspora in Development
In 2012, Nigeria was ranked the 5th among top recipients of remittances from the diaspora totaling up to $10 billion. This is not surprising considering that over 17 million Nigerians today live outside of Nigeria, many of whom are leading professionals in their various fields. This new paradigm requires a fresh look at the true impact of migration on the social economic development of Nigeria as it relates to emerging and developing nations in the African continent.
Today, it is obvious that our challenges are great and our efforts towards developing our homeland are more important than ever before. We must tighten our belts and develop a roadmap for engaging the African Diaspora to make an impact and reach even more people. We must ensure that the resources we spend are used effectively and efficiently in bridging the gap between rich and poor, developed and underdeveloped and are geared towards realizing a better future because a moment wasted is a life that could have been saved, or made better through our efforts.
When we started the Nigerian Leadership Summit in 2010, our goal was, and still remains, to connect Nigerian professionals, academicians and entrepreneurs from all across the diaspora and friends from the International Community; especially youth and young people. We looked to strategically discuss Nigeria’s present leadership challenges, share innovative ideas, knowledge, experiences, address issues threatening the survival and development of the Nigerian democracy while familiarizing participants with the leadership styles and new strategies required to deliver results that will trickle down to Nigerians at home for the economic growth of the country as well as to foster a more integrated global community of shared responsibilities and values.
I believe this moment is very important in Nigeria’s history, and diaspora Nigerians must now take the LEAD in proactively focusing on ways to be sustainable partners in development by drawing on their various financial resources, expertise, social and professional networks and cultural familiarity to help improve lives and change the future of many people. The potential for Diaspora Nigerians to be involved and engaged in Nigerian development is enormous and so powerful. As communication technology transforms the world into a global village, we can now deepen and expand our outreach by developing a people-to-people approach to positive development. This approach begins with harnessing the talents of tomorrow’s leaders today; youths and young people prepared and given the skills based empowerment programs required for creating and leading social change initiatives, programs, and campaigns in the nation.