As the number of Nigerians in the Diaspora has increased in the last few decades, awareness of their potential as an important source of money, markets and expertise has increased. For example, remittances from the Nigerian Diaspora have averaged about $21bn annually since 2011 and are Nigeria’s second largest source of foreign exchange earnings.
However, the potential contribution of the Diaspora to Nigeria’s development extends beyond personal remittances and includes group remittances that fund development projects in their home communities as well as skills and knowledge, trade links, and alternative sources of investment capital. This makes them a very attractive segment to governments and organizations in Nigeria.
The Nigerian government and other agencies have made efforts to harness and channel the potential of the Diaspora and focus their contributions more effectively on the development of Nigeria.
Most of these efforts focus on the brain drain in Nigeria – the Retention, Return, and Diaspora options:
- The Retention option works to keep highly-skilled professionals from leaving Nigeria;
- The Return option focuses on attracting professionals in the Diaspora back to Nigeria; and
- The Diaspora option focuses on tapping the skills, knowledge and resources of those in the Diaspora.
Some efforts include the Global Database of Nigerians in Diaspora, the annual Nigerian Diaspora Day conference, and the Nigerian Diaspora Direct Investment Summit (NDDIS).While these initiatives have had some success, they have been limited in their breadth, sustainability and effective engagement of the Nigerian Diaspora.
Some of the challenges include:
- Limited reach and diversity of outreach efforts (focused on professionals or individuals with enough discretionary income or savings to invest in Nigeria);
- Inadequate data on the size, location, and demographics of the Nigerian Diaspora;
- Limited or non-existent research and analysis; and
- Ineffective tools and tactics used in reaching and engaging diaspora members (not focused on maximizing the utility users derive from participating).
The lack of adequate data about the location, size and characteristics of the Nigerian Diaspora severely impairs efforts to harness the resources of the Nigerian Diaspora. Collecting this data is very challenging and requires a multi-faceted approach.
Our company, NgEX, is a technology driven-marketing solutions company which offers solutions for clients to effectively reach and engage with the Nigerian Diaspora. We focus on a blend of the Diaspora option (reaching and engaging the Nigerian Diaspora in a manner that they are most comfortable with) and a strong technology foundation to develop platforms tailored to their interests.
Nigerian Diaspora interact on our platforms and in turn offer us the ability to identify, reach and engage with them in a manner that is unobtrusive. We learn more about where they are, who they are, what they do, and what they like.
Some of NgEX’s assets include:
- Directory of Nigerian businesses in the U.S, UK, Nigeria and Canada
- Online newsletters (Daily Nigeria News, Nigerian Diaspora news)
- Proprietary Nigerian databases
We also perform proprietary research and utilize third party data. By combining these sources with data from activities on our platforms, we are able to profile, segment and target the Nigerian Diaspora with effective engagement campaigns.
The Nigerian Diaspora can play an essential role in the development of Nigeria, but to fully maximize their contribution, we need to reach them through interactive channels that they enjoy, are comfortable with, and allow for the collection of meaningful data. Efforts like NgEX to understand the size and characteristics of the Nigerian diaspora must be a high priority for the Nigerian government and organizations.