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Nigerians, others in diaspora largest financier of Africa, says AfDB

Akinwunmi Adesina

The President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, says Africans in the diaspora are critical to Africa’s economic development.

Adesina, who said this at the Global Community of Practice (G-COP) policy dialogue hosted by the bank in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, said the role of Africans in the diaspora cannot be undermined because they constituted the continent’s largest financiers through remittances.

“The value of remittances from the African diaspora doubled from $37 billion in 2010 to $87 billion in 2019, and reaching $95.6 billion by 2021,” stated Adesina. “Yet official development assistance to Africa in 2021 was $35 billion or 36% of the remittances from the diaspora.”

The AfDB President explained that Egypt and Nigeria “are among the top 10 remittance recipients globally,” with Egypt receiving $31.5 billion, and Nigeria $19.2 billion in 2021.

He added, “The African diaspora has become the largest financier of Africa, and it is not debt.”

On the use of the remittances, Adesina said while it has helped to meet financial, food, education, and health needs and served as countercyclical sources of finance and social protection, more should be done with it.

“We must eliminate the ‘Africa-premium’ charged on remittances, as the cost of remitting funds to Africa was twice what it was for South Asia. We must also tap the massive opportunities offered by diaspora bonds because diaspora bonds are effective instruments to harness remittances for the development of Africa,” he noted.

The value of remittances from the African diaspora doubled from $37 billion in 2010 to $87 billion in 2019, and reaching $95.6 billion by 2021. Yet official development assistance to Africa in 2021 was $35 billion or 36% of the remittances from the diaspora.

According to Adesina, despite its great potential only four African countries, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria, have successfully issued diaspora bonds, often with mixed results.

He said African nations should securitise remittances to promote investments, particularly for infrastructure on the continent, and that remittances to Africa can be used as collateral to secure financing for African economies because it was high, rising and stable.

On other contributions by Africans in the diaspora, he said they can offer a lot more than remittances and investments.

“They can help build world-class universities and can be mentors for the new generation of Africans. That is why all governments in Africa should prioritise affairs of the diaspora,” he said. (NAN)

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