With more than 177 million, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country. It is inhabited by more than 250 ethnic groups, including the Hausa and Fulani (29%), Yoruba (21%), Igbo (18%), Ijaw (10%), Kanuri (4%), Ibibio (3.5%), and the Tiv (2.5%) and Edo state. English is the official language although Nigeria boasts of more than 500 indigenous languages, including Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo.
Remittances from about 18 million Nigerians in the diaspora, about 12% of whom are United States-based, constitute the country’s second largest source of income. In 2007 Nigerian Americans accounted for much of the $17.9 billion (about 6.7% of GDP) remitted to the homeland, followed in pecking order by their counterparts in the Unit the International Organization for Migration.
As Nigerian Americans, we have the responsibility of caring for our extended families at home in addition to investing in the local economy to facilitate economic development, hence the high level of remittances. To keep up the momentum, however, we need to hone our skills and become more empowered economically and politically with the American firmament. The Nigerian American Foundation intends to be a more proactive actor in creating the enabling environment for our community to prosper and earn the respect that we deserve.
We have a number of programs lined up to harness the innate energy, creativity and talents of our people for a more consequential presence in South Florida. We have already started with the NAF Forum which debuted last month with a great presentation on how to enter the manufacturing pipeline in South Florida presented by Broward College’s Robin Swanson; an aggressive recruitment and email mining drivel; as well as an initiative to amend our constitution to make it reflective and inclusive of all components of the 4000 strong Nigerian community in South Florida.
While you will learn about various components of our agenda in this newsletter and other media, we invite you to be part of the change we seek: A strong and respected Nigerian voice in the tri-county area of South Florida, a thriving, unified and progressive community that is culturally aware, professionally and economically equipped, and politically potent.