We’re Focusing on Northern Nigeria in Line with Buhari’s Request – World Bank
President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, has explained that the bank’s developmental activities in Nigeria are concentrated in the northern region due to a request made by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Kim while addressing a press conference on Thursday in Washington DC stated that Buhari made the request at their first meeting.
“You know, in my very first meeting with President Buhari he said specifically that he would like us to shift our focus to the northern region of Nigeria and we’ve done that. Now, it has been very difficult. The work there has been very difficult,” Kim said.
The World Bank president opined that the country was greatly affected by dwindling oil prices and inadequate investment in human capital.
“I think things are just now getting better. But 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 the Gross Domestic Product that Nigeria spends on healthcare is less than one percent,” he said.
Kim urged the Nigerian government to “think ahead and invest in its people.” He also stressed that the focus of the country must now be on investing in things capable of stimulating the sustained and rapid growth of the economy.
Kim also said, “Focusing on the northern part of Nigeria, we hope that as commodity prices stabilise and oil prices come back up, the economy will grow a bit more. But very, very much important is the need to focus on what the drivers of growth in the future will be.”
Kim further stated the bank’s readiness to invest in human capital development in other parts of Africa in order to prepare the continent for the next phase of growth.
Meanwhile, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms Christine Lagarde who also addressed a press conference on Thursday, has urged Nigeria to focus on development of human capital across the country.
Expressing concerns about growth figures from Nigeria and other sub-Saharan countries, Lagarde said the IMF would be engaging ministers of finance and central bank governors from the region attending the annual World Bank and IMF meetings on how they could boost and stabilise economic growth.
Punch reports that Lagarde challenged Nigeria and other African countries to increase their spending on infrastructure, social safety nets and women empowerment.