In a global survey conducted by the World Values Survey between 2017 and 2022, more than 26% of the 3,257 surveyed Nigerians stated that they feel very close to their village, city, and town. Within the same group, 25.14% and 20.97% reported feeling very close to their country, their respective region and district, and the country as a whole, respectively. Additionally, the analysis reveals that nearly half (49.00%) of the 151 Nigerians who selected the “not at all close” response category indicated that they do not have a strong affinity with the world as a whole. In the “not very close” category, the analysis shows that 32.85% of respondents were not very close to the world. In comparison, 31.76% felt similarly distant from Africa, out of 828 sampled respondents. For those who chose the “close” response option, the analysis indicates that 23.56% of the 1,918 sampled citizens felt close to their country. This is closely followed by 23.40% and 22.94% of the same sampled citizens who expressed feeling close to Africa and the world, respectively.
Regarding trust, the survey found that more than half (50.44%) of the 1,475 sampled citizens expressed confidence in their family members over other categories of individuals around them. Among the 2,357 sampled citizens, 21.59% reported that they somewhat trust people in their neighbourhood, with 21.46% of the same group also indicating that they somewhat trust people they know personally. Further analysis revealed that 22.09% of the 2,154 sampled citizens did not trust people they met for the first time. Additionally, over 21% of the same sampled citizens reported that they did not trust individuals of another nationality. Notably, Nigerians did not express trust in either of these two categories of people.
Our analyst notes that the World Values Survey between 2017 and 2022 offers valuable insights into the trust dynamics within Nigeria, which can be used as a foundation for constructing a trust value system because the desire of Nigerians in the diaspora to invest in their home country is commendable, but the perceived lack of trust in the local environment presents a significant hurdle. To create a sustainable Trust Value System, we need to consider several key aspects based on the survey findings:
The survey highlights that more than half of sampled Nigerians trust their family members more than anyone else. This familial trust can be leveraged to establish a foundation for building trust in local networks. Encouraging diaspora investors to collaborate with trustworthy family members or close acquaintances in Nigeria can mitigate some of their trust concerns. Additionally, creating support systems or networks of fellow diaspora investors who can share experiences and insights can foster trust among this group.
2. Enhancing Trust in Neighbors and Personal Contacts
Approximately 21.59% of surveyed citizens reported some level of trust in people in their neighbourhoods, and a similar percentage trusted individuals they knew personally. To strengthen this trust, initiatives can be developed to promote community engagement and cohesion. Diaspora investors can actively participate in local community activities and build relationships with neighbours and acquaintances. These interactions can lead to greater trust in local communities and personal contacts.
3. Addressing Trust Issues with Strangers and Other Nationalities
The data indicates that a significant portion of respondents did not trust people they met for the first time or individuals of another nationality. To address these issues, awareness campaigns and educational programs can be implemented. These programs can focus on promoting cultural understanding, tolerance, and diversity. Encouraging diaspora investors to engage in cross-cultural exchanges and dialogue can help break down barriers and enhance trust in diverse communities.
4. Establishing Trust in Business Environments
The survey shows that trust in business environments remains a concern for diaspora investors. To address this, several strategies can be employed:
a. Transparency and Accountability: Encourage businesses and institutions in Nigeria to adopt transparent practices. This includes financial transparency, clear legal frameworks, and adherence to ethical standards. Regulatory bodies can play a crucial role in ensuring businesses operate with integrity.
b. Access to Information: Provide diaspora investors with access to reliable information about the Nigerian business landscape. This can include market research, regulatory guidelines, and potential risks and opportunities. Creating a centralized platform or agency for this purpose can be beneficial.
c. Legal Protections: Ensure that legal protections for investors are robust and enforceable. This includes mechanisms for dispute resolution and protection of property rights. Diaspora investors should have confidence that their investments are legally secure.
d. Local Partnerships: Encourage diaspora investors to establish partnerships with local businesses or individuals who have a proven track record of trustworthiness. These local partners can provide valuable insights and credibility.
e. Government Initiatives: Advocate for government policies that promote a conducive business environment. This includes reducing bureaucratic red tape, streamlining business registration processes, and offering incentives to diaspora investors.
5. Fostering a Sense of National and Global Identity
The survey indicates that a substantial portion of respondents felt close to their village, city, and country. However, when it comes to the world and Africa as a whole, the affinity decreases. To bridge this gap, efforts can be made to instil a sense of national and global identity:
a. Cultural Exchange Programs: Promote cultural exchange programs that connect diaspora investors with their cultural roots. These programs can help them better understand and appreciate the local culture, history, and traditions.
b. Global Citizenship Education: Encourage a sense of global citizenship by promoting education and awareness about global issues, sustainability, and interconnectedness. This can foster a broader sense of identity and responsibility.
c. Promotion of African Unity: Advocate for initiatives that promote unity and collaboration among African nations. Diaspora investors can be encouraged to see themselves as part of a larger African community, which can enhance their affinity with the continent.
Constructing a sustainable Trust Value System for Nigerians in the diaspora looking to invest in Nigeria is a multifaceted endeavour. It requires addressing trust issues at various levels, from personal relationships to business environments, and fostering a sense of identity and belonging. The survey data provides valuable insights into the specific challenges and opportunities in building trust for diaspora investors.
To succeed in this endeavour, it is essential for stakeholders, including the government, local businesses, diaspora organizations, and civil society, to collaborate closely. By implementing the strategies outlined above and creating a supportive ecosystem, Nigeria can attract investments from its diaspora while addressing the trust concerns that may have previously deterred potential investors. This, in turn, can contribute to the country’s economic growth and development.