A recent report by PwC Nigeria on emigration has shed more light on why thousands of Nigerians are determined to leave the country for greener pastures elsewhere. According to the report which is titled “Strength from Abroad: The Economic Power of Nigeria’s diaspora”, remittances by citizens abroad make far-reaching economic impacts on the lives of average Nigerians.
The Optics: Last year, the estimated 1.24 million Nigerians living abroad made remittances back to Nigeria to the tune of $25 billion. This amount accounted “for over a third of migrant remittance flows to Sub-Saharan Africa” and represented some 6.1% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product. In the meantime, remittances by Nigerians in diaspora have been projected to increase to $25.5 billion in 2019.
More migrating: In the meantime, many more Nigerians have indicated their interest to leave the country for places like the United States of America, Europeans countries, and some parts of Asia.
“According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre, almost half of Nigerian adults have indicated their willingness to leave the country in the next five years. According to findings from the survey, 45% of adults reveal that they plan to emigrate from the country in the period stated above. This is the highest share among the 12 countries surveyed across 4 Continents.”
Explaining the situation: Going by the foregoing, it is really not difficult to see why so many people are willing to leave. More opportunities exist outside the shores of Nigeria for Nigerians. This is unfortunate but true. That is why Nigerian graduates who can barely earn enough money to sustain themselves in Lagos will suddenly start sending thousands of dollars home once they manage to move to London or New York.
Sharing his experience, Ifeanyi (not his real name) who earned N55, 000 in 2009 working as a marketer for a Lagos-based insurance company, said his entire life changed the moment he managed to leave Nigeria to Australia in 2010. Now based in the city of Melbourne, he had to abandon his MSc in International Relations to train as a nurse. He and his wife are nurses today. They have two kids, have their own house and drive nice cars. Most importantly, they send money back to Nigeria every month to take care of their parents and other family members.
Remittances are important: As the PwC report showed, the money remitted by Nigerians in diaspora serves the following purposes:
- Help the poor recipients meet basic needs
- Foster new businesses and fund investments
- Finance education
- Service debts
- Drive economic growth