WE are in full support of are in full support of the laudable initiative of the organisers of the South – West Diaspora focal point who organised a path – breaking summit “Harnessing Diaspora Remittances For Regional Development in the South – West “ facilitated by the office of the diaspora affairs, Ekiti State, last week. It is long overdue.
With millions of its very well educated, highly skilled citizens in the Diaspora, the South – West is literary sitting on an untapped gold mine. The South – West must emulate countries such as Israel and India in particular in turning its Diaspora as not just a focal point but a partnership for development.
Remittances are important. The South – West benefits from the twenty-two billion dollars worth of remittances a year. However the remittances must be structured. The South – West regional integration mechanisms must be structured inflows from the Diaspora to incorporate bond and equity financing for long – term project financing and infrastructural development. This is after all the cheapest form of financing. There is also a synergy to be obtained; such financing will inevitably be interwoven with intellectual property acquisition, skills development as well imparting international best practices and exposure. It is a win-win scenario, sustainable development at its most impactful.
Working the talk is key. The thoughtful recommendations coming out of the conference must be fine tuned and coordinated by a regional inter – ministerial team of the region’s commissioners responsible for regional integration. This is make or break, for the South – West it is a trajectory for an advance.