The World Bank has urged Nigeria to faithfully build and invest in critical infrastructure that would wholly support its growth aspirations.The bank’s Group President, Jim Yong Kim, in his opening remarks at the 2017 yearly meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Bank Group, said Nigeria needed to build resilience, like others, against the overlapping challenges it faced today, including climate change, conflict, forced displacements, famine and disease.
According to him, most of these challenges could be tackled with deliberate efforts to raise human capacity, which calls for key investment in education.“Nigeria should think ahead. It should invest in what will grow the economy, shifting its priority. In fact, this is true of the rest of African economies,” he said.
Kim said Nigeria could also be creative in agriculture and manufacturing initiatives, which are also at the centre of human capital development issues.In a similar vein, Managing Director, IMF, Christine Lagarde, said the paradox of stronger growth and uncertainties being experienced now is a lesson for policy-makers to remove barriers against free-flow businesses, sustain corruption fight and consolidate financial regulatory system.
Lagarde, who expressed her distrust over the faltering growth in the sub-Saharan African economy, which Nigeria is leading, said it is unfortunate the sub-region emerged one of the most sub-optimal, given its demographic potential.
According to her, reduction of gender gap, which would be achieved by consistent strategy on equal opportunity and development of women, remains a potent tool for economic growth, and that is applicable to Nigeria.
Also, the Executive Director of Oxfam International, Winnie Byanyima, said like many other countries, the problem of political capture is in Nigeria, as laws do not favour the disadvantaged in most times.
Byanyima, who compared Nigeria with Vietnam, said commitment towards reducing the inequality index left Nigeria at the bottom, while Vietnam recorded improvements that placed it ahead.
She said: “In Nigeria, up to 10 million children are not going to school but in Vietnam, every child gets good education. Both countries are almost middle-income countries. Vietnam spends three times more than Nigeria on education in terms of budget allocation.”
“In Nigeria, one in every 10 children do not reach their 5th birthday, but in Vietnam, it’s one in 50. Vietnam spends twice as much as Nigeria on health. Yet, Vietnam struggles with inequality, but you can see the difference in the outcomes. This is shameful and does not contribute the much-sought growth.”