Mr. Bill Gates speaking today at the National Economic Council held at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja said the federal government needs to invest and pay more attention to health and education instead of physical Infrastructures to the detriment of human capital development.
Gates alongside Alhaji Aliko Dangote spoke at the event which theme was “Role of human capital investment in supporting pro – poor and economic growth agenda .”
The council chaired by Vice – President Yemi Osinbajo has all the 36 state governors, relevant ministers and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria as members.
Gates said available statistics showed that the country “still looks like a low – income country .”
He also described Nigeria as “one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth .”
He claimed that one in three Nigerian children are chronically malnourished.
Nigeria, he added , has the fourth worst maternal mortality rate in the world, only ahead of Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, and Chad .
“In upper middle- income countries, the average life expectancy is 75 years. In lower middle – income countries, it’s 68, in low-income countries, it’s 62 . In Nigeria, it is lower still, just 53 years ,” he said.
He also took a look at the government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, saying it does not reflect people’s needs.
He said investment in infrastructure and competitiveness must go hand in hand with investments in people , to anchor the economy over the long term.
He , however, noted that Nigeria ’ s approach places more priorities on physical capital over human capital development .
“The Nigerian government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan identifies investing in people as one of three strategic objectives. But the execution priorities don’t fully reflect people’s needs, prioritising physical capital over human capital,” he noted .
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