The Governor Rotimi Akeredolu-led Ondo State government is set to host a diaspora summit aimed at mobilizing resources for rapid and sustainable local growth and development.
The summit is being organised with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the European Union Commission through the Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) Phase II programme led by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Economy and supported by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs (OSSAP-SDGs).
Scheduled to take place virtually on December 2nd and 9th, 2023, the summit will bring together top government officials and investment/development experts.
They will showcase opportunities within the state and encourage the diaspora community to seize them, particularly in critical sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, education, technology, and infrastructure.
The project acknowledges the crucial contributions of the Nigerian diaspora community to the country’s development. Last year, Nigeria received $21.9 billion in diaspora home remittances through official channels, surpassing the value of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by fourfold.
The Summit will feature panels exploring topics related to investment opportunities in the state and how the diaspora can leverage them for a mutually beneficial commercial and developmental outcome.
Speakers scheduled for the virtual event include senior federal and state government officials, seasoned investors and development experts, entrepreneurs, prominent members of the diaspora, and representatives of international development partners.
The State’s Commissioner for Regional Integration and Diaspora Relations, Hon. Boye Ologbese, described the summit as another indication of the Akeredolu-led government’s serious commitment to enhancing the state’s relationship with its diaspora.
Ologbese also said that the summit will provide an opportunity for the state to fully leverage its diaspora’s financial capacity and knowledge acquired from residing in countries with higher levels of development than Nigeria.
Notably, the state achieved a milestone last year by becoming the first state in Nigeria’s South West region to secure the approval of the Federal Government to establish the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) office in Akure, the state capital.
The Director-General of the Ondo State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (ONDIPA), Mr. Gbenga Badejo, who plays a lead role in the organization of the summit, expressed optimism that the event would provide a platform for forward-thinking discussions.
Badejo added that the Summit will also create the avenue for the formation of substantial partnerships, promotion of investments and development, and the generation of innovative solutions to address issues pivotal to the advancement of the state.