Our Focal Points in countries of origin are essential in approaching host Institutions. They help identify priority sectors, liaise with diaspora experts about their assignment, and facilitate the overall implementation and monitoring of CD4D2.
“In Lagos I am the go-between between Host Institutions, the diaspora experts and the IOM’s coordinating mission in the Netherlands. In liaising with the Host Institutions I start at the top, with the Ministries that supervise the relevant Host Institutions. Some already know IOM from other projects, which makes it easier to introduce the programme’s objectives. This is then followed by a meeting preferably with the Minister in order to get institutional support and necessary visibility for the project. I can then engage in outreach to the relevant Host Institutions recommended by the Ministry active in sustainable development; together we identify their needs.
Nigeria fully realizes the potential of diaspora professionals. It is a huge topic; diaspora members are contributing to the development of the country in a major way. This also gives a boost to circular migration, which is backed by MATCH, a circular mobility project implemented by IOM in four EU countries (the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Italy). In the Netherlands, the Netherlands-African Business Council (NABC), is a MATCH project partner. MATCH enables skilled candidates from Nigeria (and Senegal) to work temporarily in EU companies facing staff shortages. This way, they can upscale their skills in Europe which increases their employability when they return to Nigeria.
Right now, Nigeria is booming in several sectors, such as ICT. Other focus sectors for Nigeria are health and agritech, which should make my country less dependent on oil. For CD4D2, there are currently 6 diaspora experts from the Netherlands who are on an assignment, mainly virtually because of the pandemic. Virtual training certainly has its challenges; on the one hand, they cost less because no travel is involved and it is much easier to get everyone together for a training; however, Host Institutions remain in favour of physical assignments. So I hope we can eventually offer them at some point in the future.
What I find striking is the impact of the assignments; the diaspora experts are very motivated about sharing their expertise and the Host Institutions are committed because the project addresses their identified needs. CD4D2 is an excellent way to develop skills aimed at specific capacity building in areas of sustainable development.”