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TRUE VERSION: What World Bank President actually said on his meeting with Buhari



TRUE VERSION: What World Bank President actually said on his meeting with Buhari

Against misleading reports circulating on the statement of Jim Yong Kim, World Bank President during his first meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the context of the press briefing did not warrant the hype the report was given.

It was not a request from President Buhari that the World Bank should focus on the North, rather the World Bank advised him (President Buhari) to focus the attention of his government to the northern regions of the country.

Kim while reacting to questions asked by Obinna Chima, ThisDay reporter at a press briefing during the ongoing 2017 Annual Meetings of World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund in Washington DC.

KAYODE ADELOWOKAN, NEWSVERGE Editor, was at the briefing at IMF building in Washington DC.


QUESTION: My name is Obinna Chima from ThisDay newspaper, Nigeria and the Rise TV in Africa. Mr. Kim, what can you tell us about Nigeria, specifically your intervention in the power sector, and also what is the World Bank doing to support those ravaged in the northeastern part of Nigeria by the Boko Haram terrorists.  Thank you.

Dr. KIM: 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 regions of Nigeria and we’ve done that. Now, it has been very difficult.  The work there has been very, very difficult.  I think Nigeria, of course, has suffered from the dropping oil prices.

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 GDP that Nigeria spends on healthcare is less than one percent.  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.

And this is true for most of Africa.  If you look at the numbers in terms of how successfully African countries have invested into their human beings versus other regions, there is a real issue.  And so, over this next year, not only in Nigeria but in all of Africa.  We’re going to focus on accelerating investments in human capital we call it but investments in health, education, social protection, so that Africa can prepare itself for the next phase in economic development.

One of the real questions that we all have is our traditional notions of economic growth which are agriculture, to light industry to heavy industry.  How many countries in Africa will actually experience that, and do we need to really think about another kind of path to economic growth that’s very focused on a small to medium enterprise as an entrepreneurship as they have in other parts of the world.  I think we still don’t know that.

But the one thing we know, the one thing we know, is that better health outcomes, better education outcomes will be critical no matter what the global economy looks like. So, yes focus on the north, hope that as commodity prices stabilize, oil prices come back up and the economy will grow a bit more but very, very much focus on what the drivers of growth in the future will be.


It is worthy of note that the said meeting was in 2015 when President Buhari visited United States of America, after his emergence as Nigerian President seeking support for the country especially when the Boko Haram terrorists group has taken over some local government areas in the northern region of the country.

Highlighting Dr. Kim’s statement, “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 regions of Nigeria and we’ve done that.”

It will also be recall that the north-east was actually calling for help in 2015 before the country slipped into recession in 2016.

NEWSVERGE, published by The Verge Communications is an online community of international news portal and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective. The Verge Communications (NEWSVERGE) is fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a corporate organization.



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