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 Mr. 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, Diaspora, and the mandate of the Commission; created July 25 annually to celebrate the 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, as well as, 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 potentials through 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 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 Nigeria, trust, capacity-building and funding are the major challenges being faced in their country. Another challenge raised includes 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 level of progress as NiDCOM in its five years.

Also, Mrs 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 that a technical group on migration data has been set up, as well as, reviewed the Convention 97 and 91 which focuses on migration for employment and ethical employment in Zambia.

She added that Zambia has reached Memoranda of Understanding with Seychelles, Angola, South Africa and some countries, as regards labour and migration.

The study tour of the Nigerians in 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 the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to under study the Commission in the last five years.

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