Photograph — Brookings Institute

Speaking at the Africa Institute for Leadership and Public Administration (AILPA) seminar on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, Dr Andrew Nevin Chief Economist of PwC revealed that Nigerians in the diaspora are the chief financial enablers in the economy. 

Nevin stated that Nigeria was the largest recipient of remittance inflows to sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in 2018. With migrant remittance to the country increasing from $22 billion in 2017 to over $25 billion in 2018 which represented 6.1 percent of Nigeria’s GDP, the PwC Chief Economist stated that these heavy inflows showed that the West African nation largely depends on its citizens in the diaspora to survive.

This remittance inflow is not slowing down any sooner, as “it is projected to increase to over $29 billion by 2023.” Nevin furthered explained which is due to the rising migrant population of Nigerians across the globe. 

More often than not foreign currency values are substantially higher than that of most local currencies especially in developing countries in Africa. For example, one Dollar to one Naira is 361.28 while one Euro to one Naira is 394.2901. Movements in currencies can have a substantial impact on the returns from foreign investments in a country, however, the stability of foreign currency gives it a constant position in driving and sustaining different economies across Africa. It is therefore prevalent to note that no matter the volatility in the markets, strong foreign currency hardly loses its value compared to local currency which is prone to value swings and losses from time to time. 

Seeking to increase the circulation of foreign currencies in Africa, The International Monetary Fund (IMF) once emphasized that if 10 members of the diaspora could invest $1,000 in countries of origin then the African continent could raise almost $3 billion a year for development financing.

In a report by Nairametrics, it highlights the fact that people in the diaspora hold the keys to development in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Quite a number of members in the African diaspora community have established businesses in their countries. Mr Azuka Okafor, a Nigerian immigrant currently based in Cincinnati, Ohio, is one of them. He has established a construction and properties Company, as well as a technology company in his home country which adds to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

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