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Bill Gates hails Osinbajo’s initiative, explains why he criticised Nigeria’s economic plan

Founder of Microsoft and world’s second richest man, Bill Gates, Monday night gave kudos to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Gates, who was in Nigeria over the weekend, hailed Osinbajo for convening the National Economic Council on investment in people.

In a tweet on Monday night, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair said he was grateful to Prof. Osinbajo “for his initiative in convening the National Economic Council on investment in people—and for the government’s openness and commitment to discussing how to build a Nigeria where all can thrive.

The philantropist, last Thursday, at a special session of the same NEC with President Muhammadu Buhari present, criticised the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, saying it does not cater for education and health of the people.

He said Nigeria would do better with strong investments in health and education, rather than concentrate on physical infrastructure to the detriment of human capital development.

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.

“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.”

In an interview with the CNN on Monday, explained why he spoke so directly to the government.

He said: “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.

 

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