DIBIDA -Diaspora Business Investment Development Agency
Brings Hope to Nigerian Diaspora, (Echoes Africa 2018)
According to the World Bank, about 15 million Diaspora Nigerians remit over US $35 billion each year; more than the crude oil revenue. Harnessing a fraction of this figure to establish and build businesses that can potentially impact more lives, and help reduce unemployment and poverty in the country, is what informed the conceptualization of DIBIDA.
Committed to setting the pace in this regard, Abuja Graduate School participated in, and won a business competition in the UK and got the prize money to establish a suitable platform for Diaspora. Nigerians to exploit numerous investment “virgin” opportunities in the Nigerian economy, engaging in enterprise development activities which will result in wealth and job creation both for their individual benefit, and for the country as a whole. Working in partnership with Equality Employment Direct (EED) UK, and supported by African Foundation for Development (AFFORD), funded by Comic Relief UK, a dedicated agency known as Diaspora Business In-vestment Development Agency (DIBIDA) has been established to promote and support Diaspora Nigerians to invest and participate in business and investment development activities in Nigeria. The agency will also give sup-port and serve as a catalyst for developing under-served micro, small and medium sized businesses.
According to Professor Cyril Agodi Onwumechili, Chairman of Abuja Graduate School Governing Council, “Nigeria will experience astronomical economic growth if Nigerians in Diaspora can be well guided to invest their knowledge, financial, and innovative capabilities in our economy for optimum productivity.” Professor Onwumechili also stated that Foreign Domestic Investment (FDI) will increase exponentially as a result.
Dr. Enukora Joe Okoli, Executive Vice Chairman of Abuja Graduate School who will be doubling-up as Project Director of the new agency, disclosed that arrangements were already in place to reach out to Nigerians in Diaspora through the Nigerian embassies worldwide. Himself, a diaspora returnee, Dr Okoli explained that the project will provide a soft-landing for Nigerians in diaspora who want to return home and also serve as a “guardian angel” for those who want to invest their hard-earned money in the economy. He stated that Nigerians in Diaspora are put off from investing in Nigeria due to lack of knowledge of how the system works.
Dr. Okoli insists that you cannot invest successfully in any country without knowing where to go to get what you want. Recent diaspora returnees like himself, he shared, have had to learn the hard way through investment scams, bogus land deals, fees-overcharging and contracts that are not honoured, because there was no trusted helping hands. This, he intends to provide to new returnees and investors. He questioned the flocking of Lebanese, Asians, Europeans and more recently, the Chinese into Nigeria to invest, if Nigeria was that bad. Dr Okoli concluded that people make the most money either where a country is being built or being destroyed, and Nigeria is the former and as such, a fertile land for business. DIBIDA, he announced, is poised to give the Nigerian diaspora the soft landing and guidance they need to succeed at whatever venture they choose to embark upon.