The second richest man in the world, and co-chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, has told the Nigerian government that the best way to improve the growth of the nation is to invest in its people.
He made this assertion on Thursday just as he said the government’s economic and recovery growth plan did not show the needs of Nigerians.
Gates spoke at the Expanded National Economic Council presided over by Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday.
His words: “Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth with the fourth worst maternal mortality rate in the world ahead of only Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and Chad. One in three Nigerian children is chronically malnourished.
“The Nigerian government’s economic recovery and growth plan identify investing in our people as one of three strategic objectives. But the execution priorities don’t fully reflect people’s needs, prioritizing physical capital over human capital.
“To anchor the economy over the long term, investments in infrastructure and competitiveness must go hand in hand with investments in people.
“People without roads, ports, and factories can’t flourish. And roads, ports and factories without skilled workers to build and manage them can’t sustain an economy.”
Gates said the most important choice the government could make was to maximize its greatest resource – the Nigerian people.
He said Nigeria would thrive when every Nigerian was able to thrive.
He said with the investment in their health, education and opportunities, the human capital would improve and lay the foundation for sustained prosperity.
“If you don’t, however, then it is very important to recognise that there will be a sharp limit on how much the country can grow.”
Bill Gates promised to partner with the federal government on taxes in order to bring in more money for health and education.