The President of World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, on Thursday at a press conference in Washington DC, United States, said that the bank had been concentrating on northern region of Nigeria in line with the request of President Muhamadu Buhari.
Mr. Kim and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, both spoke at the Thursday conference in Washington DC. They other advised Buhari to invest in thing that would enhance economic growth.
“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 had 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.”
“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 future is what the country has to focus on right now.”
“Focusing on the northern part of Nigeria, we hope that as commodity prices stabilize 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.
The IMF boss, Lagarde, said that Sub-Saharan African countries, including Nigeria, had posted suboptimal growth in recent times.
According to her, the growth figures were far too small considering the huge demographic potential of Nigeria and other countries in the region.
Consequently, Lagarde, said that the IMF would be engaging ministers of finance and central bank governors from the Sub-Saharan region to attend the annual World Bank and IMF meetings on how they could boost and stabilize economic growth.
“The Sub-Saharan Africa is one region of the world where growth is suboptimal. Those countries grow at an average growth of 2.5%. That is too low for the demographic expansion of the region.” She said.