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Fresh revelation on why massive developments have been tailored to the northern part of Nigeria was on Thursday, made by the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim.
He revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari, during his first meeting with him, asked World Bank to focus on northern Nigeria in developments and noted that the bank has been doing that.
Business Hilights investigations revealed that some of the ongoing World Bank projects include Nigeria’s ‘Saving One Million Lives’ Goal which the World Bank has approved $500 million to improve maternal and child health in the country.
World Bank is also sponsoring Better Education Service Delivery for All, Nigeria – Kaduna State Economic Transformation Program-for-Results, Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver), Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project, and Multi-Sectoral Crisis Recovery Project for North Eastern Nigeria
Additional statistics show that the World Bank Group is helping to fight poverty and improve living standards for the people of Nigeria through 33 Core Knowledge Products Reports and 29 ongoing National and Regional projects. This is in addition to about 60 Trust Funds. Since 1958, the World Bank Group has supported Nigeria with International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loans and International Development Association (IDA) credits worth about 14.2 billion dollars.
Kim and the Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, who addressed the world press at separate press conferences in the ongoing meeting at Washington DC, United States, however, advised federal government to invest in human capital development.
Kim said “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”.
“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 the Gross Domestic Product that Nigeria spends on healthcare is less than one percent.”
Continuing, World Bank chief averred that “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 invest 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.”
“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.”
IMF boos, Lagarde, in her remarks, said several Sub-Saharan African countries, including Nigeria, had posted suboptimal growth in recent times, saying growth statistics were far too small considering the huge demographic potential of Nigeria and other countries in Sub-Saharan African nations.
“The Sub-Saharan Africa is one region of the world where growth is suboptimal. Those countries grow at an average growth of 2.5 per cent. That is too low for the demographic expansion of the region,” Lagarde noted.
The Presidency is expected to make further clarifications on the revelations of the World Bank chief from today to avoid disaffection in the country.