Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), has said that the recently launched Nigerian Economic Diplomacy Initiative (NEDI) will enable Nigerians in the Diaspora to find opportunities to contribute to national development through short-term assignments or by securing jobs.
Vice President Osinbajo stated this at the launch of the initiative, at the banquet hall of the State House in Abuja, on Thursday.
The Nigerian Economic Diplomacy Initiative is designed to complement the fundamental economic objective of the Federal Government of Nigeria, which is to improve the wellbeing of Nigerians as individuals and as a collective.
According to the Osinbajo, the initiative will bridge gap between local talents & Nigerians in Diaspora by enhancing the capacity of the nation’s diplomats, to conduct economic diplomacy at a very practical level at home and abroad.
Osinbajo, in his remark, noted that the private sector accounts for well over 90% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, and at such important that adequate consultation is made with the private sector before the government make further commitments to some of the international treaties important to the country.
His words: “Given that private sector actors and indeed the talented individuals who drive trade and investment are numerous and dispersed, it follows that they may not have access or the means to obtain the information they need about opportunities that abound, especially abroad. There is a similar gap between the skills needed in the country and the skills that exist in the Nigerian Diaspora. The vision of the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs to use the Nigerian Economic Diplomacy Initiative (NEDI) to bridge these vital gaps is a very welcome development indeed.
“It is particularly noteworthy that this initiative will use information technology to provide a platform that will match Nigerian firms with trade and investment opportunities that exist abroad, in a timely and accurate manner. This will benefit our Small and Medium Scale Enterprises by facilitating their access to global markets. It will at the same time, make it easier for them to conduct business across borders, which is a key component of our on-going efforts to improve the domestic business environment.”
“It is often said by foreigners that one of Nigeria’s strengths is the quality of our people who work as professionals abroad. This has also been said here repeatedly. This is flattering, but it can sometimes impact negatively on economic development, especially because it also means brain-drain. The fact that this initiative will enable Nigerians in the Diaspora to find opportunities to contribute to national development through short-term assignments or by securing jobs, is a particularly pleasing component of this initiative and it is one I think we ought to pursue vigorously.
“It is also noteworthy that the Nigerian Economic Diplomacy Initiative will bring the capacities of the Nigerian Foreign Service, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its network of over 114 overseas Missions, to bear in promoting trade and investment flows between Nigeria and the rest of the world. It is very important for us as a nation to effectively utilise our human and material resources. This initiative will contribute to this objective by enhancing the capacity of our diplomats, to conduct economic diplomacy at a very practical level at home and abroad,” the Vice President added.