The Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, has again criticised Nigerian government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, this time on CNN.
Gates, in an interview with the CNN, insisted that the government’s investment in education and health was not good enough.
He said he spoke out to implore Nigerian politicians to focus on human capital and its large youth population.
“The current quality and quantity of investment in this young generation in health and education just isn’t good enough. So, I was very direct,” he told CNN.
In his speech at a special session of the National Economic Council at Nigeria’s presidential villa, the philanthropist said the country would do better with strong investments in health and education, rather than concentrate on physical infrastructure to the detriment of human capital development.
He had said, “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.
“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.
“The Nigerian government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan identifies investing in the people as one of three strategic objectives. But the execution priorities don’t fully reflect people’s needs, prioritising physical capital over human capital. 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.”