There are over 32 million Africans in the Diaspora, accounting for $40 billion remittances yearly, and savings of about $53 billion – most of it outside Africa, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has said.
Its Senior Manager, Intra-African Trade Initiative, Gainmore Zanamwe, said the economic size of Africans in the Diaspora was staggering.
According to him, should the collective African Diaspora be regarded as the 56th African state, it would rank top in terms of “Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” with its GDP estimated at over $500 billion and GDP per capita higher than Africa’s average.
Zanamwe, who spoke on the sidelines of the 47th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Lagos, said the number of Africans in the Diaspora would likely reach 50 million, if second and third generations are included.
Nigeria accounts for over a third of Diaspora remittance flows to sub-Saharan Africa, with Diaspora remittances to the country projected to reach $25.5 billion this year, up from $23 million last year, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Nigeria, also said.
Its latest report, “Strength from Abroad: The Economic Power of Nigeria’s Diaspora,” PwC also estimated that the size of the country’s Diaspora remittances will grow by $29.9billion and $34.8billion in 2021 and 2023.
Zanamwe, however, said Afreximbank has a Diaspora strategy, which provides various ways in which their resources (both financial and expertise) can be mobilised for the promotion of intra-African trade and the development of Africa through investments, trade links, skills, and technology transfer.
He said: “The key pillars of the bank’s Diaspora strategy include trade and investment promotion, remittances and savings mobilisation, knowledge and skills transfer, research and advocacy, and Diaspora outreach.
“These are to be achieved through financing and facilitating the production and distribution of ethnic goods and products of interest to Africans in the Diaspora into Diaspora markets,” Zanamwe said.
He listed some of the key growth areas of interest to the Diaspora to include ethnic foods, textiles, creative industry (music, film), tourism, manufactures, among others.
“It is estimated, for instance, that Nigeria’s trade in ethnic foods with the United States (U.S) is estimated between $500 million and $1 billion,” he said
On the creative industry space, Zanamwe said the bank was working with partners in Africa and the Diaspora by providing financing products and trade facilitation services to boost export of African movies, music, fashion and other creative works.
He said the bank was developing a technology platform for high-quality African content – music, video, movies and opportunities, among others.
Zanamwe said for instance, the Nollywood movies, an industry which employs about 300, 000 people directly and indirectly, more than one million, generating between $500 million and $1 billion yearly in revenues, is patronised across the continent and outside the continent by the Diaspora.