…advises FG to invest in human capital, new drivers of economic growth
Jim Yong Kim, World Bank President on Thursday challenged Nigeria’s President, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, to change the focus the country’s economy to human capacity development instead of relying on oil.
Kim said this while fielding questions during a press briefing at the 2017 Annual Meetings of World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund in Washington DC.
The World Bank President admitted that though Nigeria has suffered from drop in oil prices, things are just now getting better.
“Nigeria, of course, has suffered from the drop in oil prices and things are just now getting better. The conversation we need to have with Nigeria in many ways are related to what is about investment in human capital.
“The percentage of the GDP that Nigeria spends on healthcare is less than one per cent.
“Nigeria has to think ahead and invest in its people. Investing in the things that will allow it get thriving and rapidly growing economy in the future is what the country has to focus on right now.”
Mr. Jim Yong Kim further said, “It can’t rely on just oil prices going back up again. It has to think whether oil can be a source of growth in the future. Nigeria surely should be among the digital economy. This is also true for most of Africa.
“Over the next few years, Nigeria and African countries must focus on accelerated investment in human capital development, in health and education. This is how Africa can prepare itself for the next phase in global economy.
“One thing we know is that a better health and education for its people are very critical for economic growth. These are the drivers of economic growth for the future.”
Speaking on challenges and opportunities facing global community, Mr. Jim Yong Kim, said “after several years of disappointing growth, the global economy has begun to accelerate. Trade is picking up, but investment remains weak. We’re concerned that risks such as a rise in protectionism, policy uncertainty, or possible financial market turbulence could derail this fragile recovery.
“Overall, we’re seeing growth rise in most developing and advanced economies – which is why countries need to make critical investments now. This is the time to implement the reforms that are going to insulate against potential downturns in the future.
“Countries need to build resilience against the overlapping challenges we face today, including the effects of climate change, natural disasters, conflict, forced displacement, famine, and disease.
“To help countries address these challenges, we’re working to maximize finance for development. We’re pursuing private sector solutions whenever they can help achieve development goals, and reserving scarce public finance for where it is most needed – particularly investments in human capital.
“All countries need to invest more in their people. Last week, I spoke at Columbia University, where I explained why this is so critical, and I introduced an accelerated effort called the Human Capital Project that we’re undertaking at the World Bank Group to help countries invest more – and more effectively – in their people.
“We’re hoping that this project can show heads of state and finance ministers how long-term investments in their people can help grow economies – and create the political space for leaders to make these critical investments.
“Over the next year, leading up to the 2018 Annual Meetings in Indonesia, we will be working with a wide range of experts in economics, global health, and education to develop the Human Capital Project. We think this effort has the potential to be a game-changer, in the same way our Doing Business report was when it launched 15 years ago.
“This is the latest effort by the World Bank Group to meet rising aspirations all over the world, truly create equality of opportunity, and build new foundations in the project of human solidarity.”