A United States envoy statistics reveal that 300,000 Nigerians are currently living in different parts of the U.S. Outgoing Deputy Consul-General of the United States in Lagos, Ms Dehab Ghebreab, disclosed this on Monday in Lagos. According to the U.S envoy, it has been estimated that there are currently about 300,000 Nigerians working, studying or doing business in different states of America.
It is not a surprising number considering that most Nigerians still see the United States as the land of opportunities. In fact, the numbers do not reflect the number of Nigerians who cannot stand to be counted either because of their status as illegal immigrants or because their bid to get to the United States did not actually succeed. Ghebreab said that the number of Nigerians in America was increasing, and that about 30,000 Americans were living in different parts of Nigeria.
It is therefore not a one-sided relationship although much fewer Americans are found in Nigeria compared to the 300,000 Nigerians in America. It is not uncommon to see white faces in the course of commutes round different places in Nigeria. Americans obviously recognize that there are also opportunities to explore in Nigeria.
Ghebreab noted that after decades of mutual partnership between Nigeria and the U.S., their relationship had grown favorably within the last five years, and there is a growing increase in the people-to-people relationship between Nigeria and the United States today.
According to her, both countries will continue to have closer ties in the near future, and the U.S. government would continue to promote people-to-people relationships between Nigerians and the Americans, to further enhance areas of partnerships between the two countries.
The Deputy Consul-General expressed her government’s commitment to strengthening its partnership, as well as facilitating trade and investment with Nigeria in the years ahead.
Ghebreab, who also commended the contributions of Nigerian and American citizens to both countries’ socioeconomic development, announced her government’s plan to facilitate the investments of U.S. companies in Nigeria.
Hear her; “The United States and Nigeria’s relationship has been going on for decades, and it has always been a very strong relationship. Both countries will continue to address issues of mutual interest between them. This is what friends and partners do.”
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Meanwhile, reactions to the recent Brexit referendum has shown that the British exit from the EU will not in any way affect Nigerians living, (working, studying or doing businesses) in the UK. Various opinions have been made on this decision and its implications on Nigerians living in the UK.
Nigeria Brain Drain
Despite the positive discussions concerning the 300,000 Nigerians abroad, one angle that has to be considered by the government of Nigeria is the real problem of brain drain. The United States and other foreign countries seem to be receiving talented Nigerians who then work to build their own economy and create inventions and innovations that would have been ascribed to Nigeria if they had remained.
There are a number of reasons for the brain drain from Nigeria but the root of the phenomenon is often a simple dissatisfaction with the government and policies in place in the country which seems to favour only a few at the top. The attraction of higher pay or even job security can be enough to pull a really promising individual away from their home country to another country that is considered better.
The Institute of International Education concluded in a report that most ambitious African youths look to the United States as having better quality higher education and access to numerous scholarships available for talented students. In 2014, the United States had 31,113 students from sub-Saharan Africa, comprising 4% of the 886,052 international students in the US. Nigeria was one of the major countries of origin among the sub-Saharan African countries alongside Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Cameroon, and Ethiopia.
It is, however, important to note that the brain drain is not all bad. Nigerians abroad contribute to the Nigerian economy by sending money back either to family or friends. A World Bank Study in 2014 showed that remittances to Africa reached US$32.9 billion. Nigeria accounted for two-thirds of this flow, at US$21 billion, or a third of its imports in 2013.