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Nigeria needs accelerated investment in human capital — World Bank

IMF laments sub-optimal growth in sub-Sahara Africa

By Emeka Anaeto & Babajide Komolafe, reporting from Washington DC

The World Bank, yesterday, called for accelerated investment in human capital in Nigeria in order to secure future economic growth.

World Bank President, Mr. Jim Yong Kim, made this call at a press conference in the on-going 2017 annual meetings of the World Bank Group in Washington DC, United States.

Noting that Nigeria currently spends less than one percent of its annual budget on health, Kim stated: “The conversation we need to have with Nigeria, I think, is in many ways, related to the theme that I brought to the table just this past week which is, investment in human capital. The percentage of GDP that Nigeria spends on healthcare is less than one percent.”

Citing a recent World Bank study, which shows that investment in human capital, especially in education and healthcare, enhances economic growth, Kim said the focus of the Federal Government should be on investing in what would help its economy to grow rapidly.

He said: “Despite that, there is so much turbulence in the northern part of the country, and there is the hit that was taken from the drop in the oil prices. Nigeria has to think ahead and investing in its people, investing in the things that will allow Nigeria to be a thriving, rapidly growing economy in the future, is what the country has to focus on right now.

“It can’t rely just on oil prices going back up. It has to think, what are going to be the sources of growth in the future for Nigeria in what will surely be a more digitalized economy.”


IMF laments sub-optimal growth  in  sub-Sahara Africa

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund, IMF, yesterday, said the performance of the economies of Nigeria and the other 49 countries in the sub-Sahara Africa was below potential and too low, compared with the population growth in the region.

IMF Managing Director, Madam Christine Largade, stated this at a press conference of the 2017 annual meetings of the Fund and the World Bank in Washington, United States.

She said: “On sub Saharan Africa, it is one region of the world where growth is way suboptimal. Those countries grow on an average growth of about 2.5 percent that is too low for the demographic expansion of the region.

“There are different countries, if we are to look, Rwanda it is a different situation from that Ghana and Togo, it would be different from Mozambique and so on.

“It is still too low for the demographic growth and for that region to take advantage of the demographic of all the young people who are coming up and trying to have access to the economy and have a job, it is too low.”

“With all of our country members, we are engaging them in the direction of stabilizing for those that are doing well, build up their buffers and more importantly, really diversify the sources of their economic growth. Because what we observed is that those that are heavily commodities dependent are faring less well than those that are well diversified.”


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