Investors gather in London for Nigeria

Hundreds of UK, African and other international investors joined hands with Nigerian Diasporas in London to discuss various investment initiatives and potential opportunities for Nigeria.

The event held in London was organised by the Nigerian Diaspora Direct Investment Summit, NDDIS, in partnership with the African Diaspora Direct Investment Summit with supports from the Nigerian High Commission, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Providus Bank, Air Peace, and Cruxstone Development & Investment Limited among others.

In his welcome address at the business matchmaking and networking event officially declared open by the Acting High Commissioner of Nigeria to the UK, Ambassador Cyprian Heen, the Founder, NDDIS, Prince Bimbo Roberts Folayan, noted that the event which attracted over 400 delegates was in its 11th year.

Folayan, who expressed joy that this year’s edition marked the first time the organisation would be given the power by philanthropic funders to screen multiple applications for projects that meet the United Nations SDG goals for grants ranging from $600,000 to over $50m across Nigeria and Africa, admonished state delegates from across Nigeria to take advantage of the opportunity so to benefit from the grants.

According to him, NIDCOM and the Nigerian High Commission in London had been major partners of the NDDIS from inception 11 years ago. 

Reflecting on the many gains of the NDDIS, Folayan said: “In spite of its challenges and lack of sponsorship, has become so invaluable in Nigeria that NIDCOM has adopted the same template and model to mobilise investments into Nigeria during the annual NDIS in Abuja. The Federal Government, also, has started work on the Diaspora Trust Fund kickstarted from London at the NDDIS several years ago.”

He congratulated both Kaduna and Akwa Ibom states who would be the first beneficiaries of grants for citizens of their states.

Also speaking, Temitola Adekunle-Johnson, MFR, Senior Special Assistant on Job Creation and MSME Promotion to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, highlighted the various initiatives the presidency had implemented to create jobs and support the survival and growth of emerging businesses in Nigeria. 

He pledged to work with the NDDIS to promote and create a partnership that will further boost employment and SME promotion for Nigeria, saying, “we will now work hand in hand with your highly successful organisation for the good of our country.”

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, was represented by Dr. Ide Owodiong-Idemeko, Chairman of the Akwa Ibom Investment Corporation, who gave an engaging lecture on the state’s vast potential. 

In his keynote address titled ‘Kaduna is Ready’ the Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Uba Sani, who was represented by Maureen Okogwu-Ikokwu, Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora and Special Duties, assured potential project owners of his readiness to urgently drive development. 

On her part, Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa, Chairperson/CEO, NIDCOM, who was represented by Hon. Terab Abdulrahman, Head of Technology Transfer and Innovation at NIDCOM, pledged to continue to work with the Diaspora to mobilise investments into Nigeria. 

Other notable dignitaries at the event included Tim Morris, former British Ambassador to Africa and a Senior Trade Adviser on Africa in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Queen Aderonke Ademiluyi Adewusi, Founder of the African Fashion Week London represented by Creative Arts Director, African Fashion Week London, Bola Obileye; internationally acclaimed actress and Nollywood legend, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett; HRH Paul Eganda and Grace Eganda, Founders of the African International Development Organisation, AIDO; as well as other royalties from Ghana, Eritrea, and many more.  

The event also featured a panel made up of experts from different fields, which discussed how Nigeria can create more jobs and support the growth of MSMEs. The panel was made up of Dr Boma Douglas, an energy expert; Thierry Bayle, a business development expert; Nikky Emelike, Founder of Neasdon College and Abimbola Okoya, who is a board member of Commonwealth Institute. 

The event was attended by hundreds of Diaspora business leaders, African, British, Commonwealth and other international investors and funders entrepreneurs, top government officials, community leaders, current and former Mayors of Nigerian origin, stakeholders, and members of the Nigerian and African communities in the UK.

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