By Emmanuel Elebeke
AS the Federal Government perfects plans to host the World Economic Forum, WEF Africa, from tomorrow, the coordinating minister for the economy and minister of finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday, said that one of the benefits of hosting the economic event was that about $3.5 billion will come to Nigeria to boost agriculture and assist small farm holders in the country.
The minister who announced this while briefing newsmen on the global event said, “there are several things that will be of benefit to Nigeria. Some of these are the several initiatives of the forum like the Grow Africa Initiative which is supposed to help agriculture and small holders across the continent and it has been able to raise about $7 billion in investments and about half or more than half of which will be coming to Nigeria.
“There is the healthcare initiative designed to strengthen access to healthcare and Nigeria will benefit from that. Participants will highlight a vision for the Nigerian health system by 2030 aiming to provide universal health coverage by building on the National Health Bill 2014. The participants will elaborate a package of high-impact ‘leapfrogging’ initiatives and align stakeholders to cooperate in delivering this vision.”
According to Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria currently has about 14 per cent of the number of doctors per capita of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, countries. To catch up, Nigeria would need approximately 12 times as many doctors by 2030 at a cost of US$ 51 billion.
Also speaking at the briefing, member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum, Robert Greenhill, said, “this is not a sustainable option and higher investments do not necessarily translate into better health outcomes. Policy makers now stand at a fork in the road, and face two alternative paths: the familiar, but long, expensive and ultimately unsustainable path of developed economies – or a shortcut that leapfrogs over the problems experienced by developed economies and results in a system that provides better health outcomes, financial stability, and individual satisfaction. We believe that African economies are well suited to the second path.”