By DAUD OLATUNJI
ABEOKUTA – Vice-President, World Bank (Africa), Dr. Oby Ezekwesili said, Monday, that Nigeria may not be greater if it continues to depend on oil wealth.
Ezekwesili, who delivered a keynote address in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, at the launch of the Feed Africa, organised by Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, OOPL, in commemoration of the 75th birthday of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, advised leaders in the country to emphasise on human capital rather than what she called ‘non-renewable endowment’.
According to the former Minister of Education during Obasanjo’s tenure,” the issue of human capital is much more important for Africa than this incredible debate which goes on all the time about oil wealth.
“Oil wealth never creates the basis for economic development. This is the truth. The only benefit of oil wealth is if it is properly managed to transform an economy. But simply sharing of oil wealth is such a lowly vision.
“There is no nation on the face of the earth that shared resources from non-renewable capital, non-renewable endowment, and simply by sharing became great. It is the proper translation of the rent from non-renewable assets, endowment, the transition to physical capital and human capital that forms the basis of economic growth.
“How much oil does Japan have? How much oil does Singapore have? Today, Singapore has become a country that the US depends upon concerning its science”, she stated.
Ezekwesili however argued that improving food security should go beyond managing fluctuating cost of food imports, while tracing the root of the problems facing the country to bad leadership.
The World Bank VP expressed concern over food crises ravaging the Africa, continent, which according to her, possessed 50 percent of the current arable lands in the entire world.
“it can only be explained by poor leadership on the issue, poor policy around the issue, poor commitment to the issue, maladministration of resources, and inappropriate investment to address the issue.”