FORMER president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has thrown his weight behind the Fourth Nigerian Direct Diaspora Investment Summit (NDDIS) taking place in London next month and plans to unveil three initiatives at the event.
Being organised for the fourth time, NDDIS 2017 is focusing on developing the government’s plans to diversify the Nigerian economy and end the dependency on oil even as it encourages collaboration between Nigerians in the Diaspora and companies in Nigeria in all the sectors. It aims to tap into the potential of the diaspora as well as attract foreign direct investors, who will be linked up with the federal and Nigerian state governments.
Among those who will be attending will be Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State; Senator Lanre Tejuosho, the chairman of the senate committee on health; Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on diaspora affairs and the chair of the Diaspora Committee at the House of Representatives, Hon Rita Orji.
Chief Obasanjo will be represented by Ayo Aderinwale, the deputy coordinator of the Obasanjo Library.
In addition, the African Leadership Forum (ALF) an initiative of Chief Obasanjo is set to be represented by Dr Olumide Ajayi, the chief executive of the organisation.
Founded in Nigeria in 1988, the ALF was set up to help improve the current quality of leadership across Africa while at the same time helping to train the next generation of leaders for the continent.
At the summit in London next month, the ALF will be partnering with NDDIS to launch a diaspora integration and investment support scheme (Diiss). It is designed to help support diasporans as they return to Nigeria to set up their businesses through induction courses and other initiatives.
NDDIS chairman Chief Bimbo Afolayan said: “The overall name for the initiative is Diiss but it is made up of three parts. This includes the diaspora adaptive programme, the portfolio investment scheme and the direct business ownership scheme.
“Taking place at the School of Oriental Studies (Soas) in central London on July 13 and 14, NDDIS has identified 250 existing diasporan businesses that will like to set up their models in Nigeria to provide employment. It will be followed by a summit dinner on Saturday 15th July and among those supporting the event are UK Trade & Investment, the Afford UK, Soas, the British African Business Alliance and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.”
Mr Aderinwale provides consulting services for several international agencies, including the United Nations, European Union and the African Union. He participated in the initial drafting of the Millennium Plan for Africa, which later became the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and was an inaugural member of the Nigeria Steering Committee of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism.
He is currently the chairman of the board of directors of Justrite, one of the largest superstores in Lagos and Ogun States. In addition, he is also the chairman of the board of directors of the Business School Netherlands and chairman of the board of governors of Bells Educational Services, as well as the Bells Comprehensive Secondary School for Boys and Girls.
According to Chief Afolayan, the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has shown an interest in the summit and will be sending a delegation if he is unable to attend. He added that anyone willing to register for the event must visit www.nddis.com where they will be able to purchase their tickets online.
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