News and Views
Aganga to deliver keynote address at Diaspora investment summit
Nigeria’s Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment – Dr Segun Aganga is expected to deliver the keynote address at the Nigerian Diaspora Direct Investment Summit (NDDIS) which takes place in London on the 12th and 13th of June 2014.
At a Press Conference held at the Nigeria High Commission London, the organisers of the NDDIS announced that Aganga, who for many years lived in the Diaspora and joined the Federal Cabinet in April 2010; is expected to help mobilise Nigerians in the UK to invest in Nigeria at the event.
The Press Conference which was attended by the Kaduna State Governor’s Senior Special Adviser (SSA) on Investment and Niger State’s Commissioner for Trade and Investment, opened with an interactive session coordinated by NDDIS’ newly appointed Head of Media – Don Pedro Okojie. Okojie began by asking those present to discuss their experiences of the problems faced by many Nigerians in the Diaspora who chose to invest in Nigeria and to exchange ideas on best practices and how Nigerians in Diaspora can safely return to their country to contribute to national development.
NDDIS Co-Founder – Chief Bimbo Folayan who is also the Chairman of the Central Association of Nigerians in the United Kingdom (CANUK) stated that “So far, three States – Niger, Kaduna and Cross River, have indicated their willingness to partner with the NDDIS to support Nigerians in the Diaspora because they are looking for Nigerians willing to relocate and set up SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) to support the mining sector or to partner with existing businesses in Nigeria.”
In promising that the NDDIS would not be an ordinary talk shop, but a real deal making Business-to-Business meeting of Nigerians in Diaspora and Government and Private Institutions from Nigeria Folayan stated: “For the second time, the NDDIS will open its ‘deal room’ and invite Diaspora businessmen to meet with Commissioners and Investment Directors to discuss opportunities on a one-to-one basis during the summit.”
Folayan also revealed that a new publication ‘The Eminent Nigerian Series’, designed to promote the ethical values of Nigerian heroes, would be launched at the summit.
The Chairman of the NDDIS Steering Committee, David Smith of the British African Business Alliance spoke on the fragmentation of the Diaspora and the need for people, institutions, agencies and governments to act as ‘Diasporan Champions’.
He commended Folayan and described him as a Diaspora Champion who promotes the interest of the Diaspora for the benefit of Nigeria. He talked about the mass potential of Nigeria and the growing opportunities that abound for those interested in investing.
According to Smith, there is a pressing need to develop the SME sector. “The statistics illustrate the disparity between the present situation of 17.5m Micro and SMEs, where 98.8% are subsistence businesses and Nigeria’s need to develop the SME sector into a powerhouse of economic growth and the creator of widely held wealth. This is a role in which the Diaspora is ideally positioned to help; through its expertise, experience and investment potential,” he commented.
Talking on behalf of the Nigerian States, Mohammed Lere, the Senior Special Adviser to the Kaduna State Governor on Investments, commented: “We are looking for new businesses to come to Kaduna State and Nigeria in general and we have a range of incentives to support our programmes.” He provided details on DVD of the Kaduna Investment Support Programmes and promised to look after any Diasporan who chose to come to Kaduna outlining the funding support that is available through Kaduna State and Bank of Industry.
Whilst addressing the audience he explained the rapid change that is taking place in Nigeria’s business environment. He urged those with apprehension to rethink and place their faith not only in the NDDIS, but also in Nigeria as a whole, in order to capitalise on the bourgeoning market.
Other speakers included David Foxman, the Chairman of Developed Africa, an online platform that provides links between Investors and Entrepreneurs. He commended the organisers of the NDDIS and stated that Developed Africa is in partnership with NDDIS and will soon be integrating their platform with that of the NDDIS so that those who plan to invest in Nigeria can have access to their growing lists of Investors and Entrepreneurs.
During the question and answer session, Folayan revealed that the Patron of the NDDIS is the current Nigeria High Commissioner to the UK – Dr Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, who has given his full support to the initiative to mobilise Nigerians in the UK for the benefit of their country. The 2nd Summit also has former High Commissioner Bola Ajibola’s law firm as Legal partner to help follow up deals with Nigerian businesses and governments and to work with Hallmark Solicitors in the UK who will help coordinate all deals coming from the summit.
The maiden event of NDDIS in June 2013 was attended by the Oyo State Governor – Senator Abiola Ajimobi, his wife and delegates from Oyo State, Officials from Bayelsa and Kaduna States, SMEDAN, NIPC and several other agencies from Nigeria and the UK. The 1st NDDIS conference was described by participants and dignitaries as a resounding success, creating increased belief that the 2nd conference will surely surpass it.
Folayan commended the sponsors and partners of NDDIS, Shell, Stanbic Bank, Arik Air, MoneyGram and ISAC, Monopoly and Metlife Insurance and described them as preferred businesses for Diasporans to engage because of their support for Diaspora efforts and their continued support for the actualisation of the summit.
The NDDIS aims to provide a direct link between interested individuals and businesses in the Diaspora with State Governments and business partners in Nigeria, helping to bridge the gap in investment opportunities.
Further information about registration to attend the summit is available at: www.nddis.com.