- ICT (in the education sector)
In recognition of the potential of the diaspora, the government of Nigeria has articulated a clear policy direction to effectively utilize, support and engage the diaspora for national development. Worthy of note is the creation of the Nigeria National Volunteer Service (NNVS) which was previously the main organization for diaspora engagement, formed in 2003; setting up of the House Committee on Diaspora Affairs Office and the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora; the establishment of a Diaspora Day Celebration on 25 July of every year; and most recently the establishment of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission.
Nigeria is currently in the process of finalizing its National Diaspora Policy (NDP), which constitutes Nigeria’s first comprehensive national plan to foster and facilitate diaspora engagement. This is being done with the support of IOM within the framework of the ‘EU-IOM initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Nigeria’. In the NDP, the ‘Government commits to providing the necessary enabling environment, including legislative, regulatory, budgetary, and information support for the implementation of the Policy.’
Although the NDP shows a clear commitment from the Nigerian government to engage with the diaspora, it also lists many possible challenges. The key challenges as identified by the National Diaspora Policy are the lack of ‘adequate data on Nigerians in the diaspora, high cost of remittances, coordination, inadequate infrastructure, knowledge and technology transfer, pooling of funds from the Diaspora for targeted Direct Foreign Investment, etcetera’.
Nigeria is a new addition to the CD4D project, forming part of the second phase CD4D 2. This is the first time that IOM the Netherlands has undertaken a project with Nigeria as a focus country.
IOM Nigeria has been supporting the efforts of the Government of Nigeria since 2002 based on a Cooperation Agreement, to help better manage migration through capacity-building, advisory services, and technical assistance on migration matters, including migration health and information, assisted voluntary returns, and counter-trafficking. Strong collaboration has been established with national migration stakeholders in order to enhance border management, fight trafficking in persons, reduce irregular migration, and mainstream migration in the country’s development plans as well as developed various actions in collaboration with NNVS to mobilize highly skilled Nigerian migrants in the diaspora for national development.
In line with the priorities of the Government of Nigeria, IOM, within the framework of the national 10th EDF project “Promoting Better Management of Migration in Nigeria”, implemented between 2012 and 2016, developed various initiatives in collaboration with NNVS to mobilize highly skilled Nigerian migrants in the diaspora. Some of the initiatives include: the establishment of a system for the registration and mapping of Nigerians in the diaspora to enable the government, secure substantial information on socio-demographic, spread, economic characteristics and potentials of the diasporas as well as their willingness to invest in Nigeria. In 2014, IOM conducted mapping of Nigerian diasporas in the health and education sectors in three pilot countries (United Kingdom, South Africa and the United States of America), which aimed at providing the government with available diasporas’ skills to enhance decisions making and implementation of strategies to facilitate skills and knowledge transfer into Nigeria. Arising from the mapping, IOM in 2015 supported temporary return of two Nigerian professionals living in the United States of America to build local capacities in health and education sectors, and similarly, awarded grants to two diaspora members to complete ongoing investment in Nigeria.
As the main organization for the Nigerian Diaspora in the Netherlands, the IOM has selected NIDO NL as a suitable partner for the implementation and outreach of this project. NIDO NL is a sub-section of the European wide organization NIDOE. Initial contact with NIDO NL has been positive and its members are interested in collaborating with IOM on this project. If identified, other suitable diaspora organizations will also be engaged to ensure wider outreach and equal representation of different diaspora communities.