Nigerians in diaspora: Population and Economic contributions

Nigerians are found in almost every country of the world. The desire for Nigerians to trade and improve their standard of living draws a significant number of Nigerians to the vast opportunities that abound across the world. 

Population of Nigerians in the diaspora

According to the Nigerians in diaspora commission (NIDCOM), there are about 15 million Nigerians living abroad. Strong indications show that the number of Nigerians in the diaspora is expected to double in the coming years. With African countries taking the largest share of the Nigerian diaspora population distribution. 

After West Africa, the United States of America and the United Kingdom come next with the most population of Nigerians in the diaspora.

Below are the top ten countries with the highest population of Nigerians in the disapora.

RankCountryPopulation of Nigerians
1. Benin6,000,000
3.United States of America461,695
4.United Kingdom215,000

The benefits the Nigerian diaspora offers the nation cannot be overemphasized, with significant remittances and strong investments in the image of the country- this article offers the contributions of Nigerians in the diaspora to the nation.

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Benefits of Nigerians in the Diaspora to Nigeria and the economy

1. A source of revenue for the government

This is by far the most significant contribution by Nigerians in the diaspora. This contribution occurs through the continuous remittances of funds by Nigerians in the diaspora to Nigeria. 

NIDCOM revealed that in the first quarter of 2022, remittances by Nigerians in the diaspora increased by over 20% compared to the performance in 2021. With over $20 billion in remittances expected by the end of 2022. Remittances by diaspora Nigerians have caused an increased revenue for the Nigerian government. Aside from the 2022 remittances, in 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Naira-4-Dollar scheme saw a remittance amount of over $2 billion alone. 

A report by NIDCOM showed that Nigerian diaspora remittances add more revenue than the contributions of 34 states in Nigeria. The coming years would see diaspora remittances grow by over 30% revenue to the government, with strong additions to the overall benchmark of government spending in infrastructure and the overall improvement of the livelihood of Nigerians.

2. Investment in technology

The Nigerian diaspora has pooled varying investments into startup companies across Nigeria. With strong indications of support to startup companies and partnerships with already existing ones. Over a billion dollars has been invested by the diaspora population into the Nigerian ICT market, with fintech, eCommerce and AgriTech taking the lion’s share.

A bulk of remittances are channelled towards investment into Nigeria’s fast-growing ICT sector. Recently Nigeria become Africa’s powerhouse for ICT, and this improvement is predicated on the benchmark of continued investments in the sector. Most diaspora Nigerians either establish ICT-related companies or invest in startups founded by Nigerians and situated in the country. 

ICT investment contributions by the Nigerians in the diaspora have seen players in the industry leverage the support from the diaspora to fund their activities in the Nigerian space. The efforts of the Nigerians in diaspora investment in the ICT sector reached their peak when West African optic cable giant Phase3, sought to leverage the effort of the Nigerian diaspora funding to ICT by making calls to the diaspora to invest in the improved services of ICT in the country. 

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3. Improvement of Nigeria’s image

The image of the country is greatly improved by the activities of Nigerians in the diaspora. The majority of Nigerians move to countries for education, a better trade environment, stronger welfare and others. Nigerians are known to stand out and be themselves in whatever circumstances they are in. It is argued that you can tell a Nigerian simply by conversing with them.

Aside from social factors which advance the character of Nigerians in the diaspora, the achievements of Nigerians on the global stage are staggering. A report in 2016 showed that Nigerians were the most successful racial group of immigrants in America.

A further report held that Nigerians were the United States’ most intelligent immigrants with over two-thirds of Nigerian immigrants in the US having college degrees. Nigerian professionals are also in high demand all over the world, from doctors to lawyers, accountants, engineers and economists. 

Again, the diaspora is filled with brilliant Nigerian inventors that impacted the world of creation and innovation on the global stage. From Jelani Aliyu, who designed General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt to Cyprian Emeka Uzoh who holds over 126 United States patents and over 150 patents from countries across the world for the invention of tech-related inventions. This success offers Nigerians a strong image on the global stage.

4. Investment in real estate

The rapid investment in the Nigerian real estate market by Nigerians in the diaspora is overwhelming. With over a100 million dollars invested in the last three years by the Nigerian diaspora. A majority of the properties are located in urban areas and a considerable number are in rural areas also. 

Real estate investments by Nigerians in the diaspora is the has been one of the most significant contributions over the years. Diaspora Nigerians invest in real estate as personal property in Nigeria or as a commercial investment for increased income. The result is these properties are constructed by Nigerian businesses, thereby adding to the overall growth of the nation.

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5. Maintaining Human Rights

Diaspora Nigerians have been highly pivotal to the maintenance of human rights in Nigeria. Nigerians have battled some of the most dictatorial governance over the years that has moved to silence thousands of Nigerians speaking out against the abuses by the government.

From the military to civilian rule, several cases of abuse have been meted out on Nigerians seeking to draw the government’s change to action. The most recent of these was the End-SARS protest of 2020, where a Lagos committee of enquiry held that protesters were shot at a toll gate by men of the Nigerian army.

Nigerians in the diaspora leverage their status to send home the demands of Nigerians to the government, this is achieved through rallies, protests in their host countries, protests at the Nigerian embassies, social media protests, confrontations with Nigerian politicians visiting their host country and others.

An example of a human rights contribution by the diaspora Nigerians was seen in the End-SARS protest where the Nigerian diaspora held protests in Canada, Germany Hungary, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa and Dubai (United Arab Emirates). 

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Nigerians in the diaspora have contributed significantly to various areas of the nation. The patriotic attitude displayed by the Nigerian diaspora cannot be taken for granted. It is believed that in the coming years, this is expected to improve efficiency.

Why can’t Nigerians in the diaspora vote in the Nigerian elections? The electoral laws in Nigeria provide that only Nigerians resident in Nigeria at the time of the election can vote. Nonetheless, NIDCOM is working with the National Assembly to amend the law to allow diaspora voting.

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Richard Okoroafor

Richard Okoroafor

Richard is a brilliant legal content writer who doubles as a finance lawyer. He brings his wealth of legal knowledge in corporate commercial transactions to bear, offering the best value that exceeds expectations.

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