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Invest in Human Capital to Boost Economic Growth, W’Bank Urges Nigeria, Africa

IMF’s First Deputy Managing Director, David Lipton; Managing Director, IMF, Christine Lagarde and Director, IMF Communications Department, Gerry Rice, at the 2017 Annual Meetings Press Conference held today in Washington DC.

 

 

 
BY NKECHI NAECHE(WASHINGTON DC)—-The World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim on Thursday outlined some fundamental pillars that can help to prepare Nigeria and Africa for the next phase in economic development and achieving the organization’s goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030.

Speaking at the 2017 Annual Meetings Press Conference held in Washington DC, he said that 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.

“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.

“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.

He assured that better health, better education will play a big role in developing Nigeria and Africa no matter what the global economy looks like.

He added: “But the one thing we know, is that better health outcomes, better education outcomes will be critical no matter what the global economy looks like.”
He called on Nigeria and other African Countries to be more creative and innovative in creating strategies that would improve the economy of their various nation.

“I think with Africa, we have to be much more creative. We have to think, so what are going to be the drivers of growth if, in fact, light manufacturing is becoming mechanized. If 3D printing is going to make garments and shoes, what is going to happen with the light manufacturing industries, are they going to go back to the developed countries. And then if you don’t attract light industry what about heavy industry. So, it might be a different path altogether and if that’s the case, again, investing in people is important and then looking at innovative ways of moving capital. Moving capital quickly and efficiently to people who are going to start promising business is probably a major direction we have to go. Right now, it is still pretty slow and pretty difficult because we’re always working with financial intermediaries which makes things much more difficult for us.

He also disclosed plan by World Bank to focus on accelerating investments in human capital, health, education, social protection in Nigeria and Africa in 2018.

According to him Nigeria has suffered from the dropping oil prices, less than one percentage of GDP on healthcare and turbulence in the northern these he said has imparted negatively on the economy.

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