Dabiri-Erewa advocates strategic diaspora relations in more African countries

Friday Ajagunna
Friday Ajagunna
Sule Yakubu Bassi, with Jenipher Mutembo, Lucy Namadula, Mukamasole Kasanda, alongside other Zambian delegates & management of NIDCOM
The Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has applauded the Zambian government for taking the bold step in diaspora engagements.
This was made at a study tour of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission by the Zambian delegation, led by the Zambian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Jenipher Mutembo and Tunde Omoyeni, the Migration Management Specialist, International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
South Africa.
Dr. Sule Yakubu Bassi, the Secretary to the Commission, who received them on behalf of the Chairman/CEO, is pleased to have another African country understudy NiDCOM to create a replica Commission in Zambia.
He is equally pleased that their visit coincided with the fifth anniversary of the Commission, hence providing the opportunity to categorically list the activities, projects, and plans of the Commission.
The NiDCOM Secretary further stated that in the last five years, the Commission established the National Diaspora Policy, that contextually states the concept, of diaspora and the mandate of the Commission. It was created July 25 annually to celebrate National Diaspora Day, started the
Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit (NDIS), launched the Diaspora Mortgage Scheme, set the Diaspora Data Mapping System; hosted its first National Diaspora Merit Awards, engaged in townhall meetings with Nigerians at their respective countries of residence, and built comprehensive media and communication channels for engagement, among others.
Dr. Bassi explained that issues such as funding, bureaucratic bottlenecks, trust from citizens abroad, and many others will arise in their course of establishment, but he encouraged the delegates not to relent in their efforts.
He expressed that if more African countries participate in diaspora engagement, Africa will fully actualise its potential by harnessing the human and material resources of Africans living across the world.
Mrs. Lucy Namadula, the Coordinating Officer for Diaspora Affairs in Zambia, stated that their team has come up with a 30-point plan towards feasible diaspora engagement that cuts across employment, health insurance, diaspora database, home affairs, remittances and investments,
and other social interventions.
She further informed me that a special website has been created to provide real-time information for diasporas, as well as a platform to have a diaspora database for about 250,000 of its citizens abroad.
Mrs. Namadula agreed that, just like in Nigeria, trust, capacity-building, and funding are the major challenges being faced in their country.
Another challengeĀ  raised includes the absence of a diaspora law and a dedicated commission.
However, the Zambian Coordinating Officer for Diaspora Affairs is confident that, in due time, the Diaspora Office in Zambia will attain the sameĀ level of progress as NiDCOM in its five years.
Also, Mukamasole Kasanda, Assistant Labour Commissioner, Ministry of Labour and Social Security Zambia, commended the Nigerian government for setting up NiDCOM for proper diaspora engagement.
Kasanda stated their objective of establishing a migration resource centre in her country. She said the Zambian government has set policies on anti-trafficking and employment.
In addition, Kasanda informed us that a technical group on migration data has been set up, as well as, reviewing Conventions 97 and 91, which focus on migration for employment and ethical employment in Zambia.
She added that Zambia has reached Memoranda of Understanding with the Seychelles, Angola, South Africa, and some other countries, as regards labour and migration.
The study tour of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission was facilitated by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) South Africa.
Zambia makes it the ninth country after Zimbabwe, Egypt, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Namibia, Ghana, South Korea and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to study the Commission in the last five years.
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