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Politics and Policy

Bill Gates Smiles and Dines With Buhari, But Blunt About the Effect of His Policies

Microsoft founder and one of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates, was hosted to a dinner by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday night at the State House in Abuja.

Mr Gates is in Nigeria as part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s collaboration with the Dangote Foundation on combating polio and malnutrition. In an extended meeting with the Federal Executive Council, Gates gave an address on the Role of human capital investment in supporting pro-poor and economic growth agenda.

“The Nigerian government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan identifies investing in our people as one of three strategic executives,” Gates said according to a transcript of his speech on channelstv.com. “But the execution priorities don’t fully reflect people’s needs – prioritizing physical capital over human capital”.

“Nigeria will thrive when every Nigerian is able to thrive, If you invest in their health, education and opportunities, the human capital that we are talking about today, then that will lay the foundation for sustained prosperity”.

“Much of Nigeria still looks like a low-income country. Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth,” he said.

“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 Buhari administration launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan as a four year plan from 2017 – 2020 to grow the Nigerian economy by 7%. But allocations made to education and healthcare have not matched the rates that should build the human capital necessary for physical capital and sustainable growth. A good illustration will be Finland, recently ranked the happiest nation in the world, where universal education and healthcare has formed a strong base for booming productivity and prosperity.

Mr Gates, who has been displaced by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest man, also visited Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun at the Ministry’s headquarters, according to PREMIUM TIMES. “[Bill and Melinda Gates] Foundation has invested over a $1billion in Nigeria, mostly in health” he said. “We are very committed to global development. We want to discuss vaccine financing and the issue of how we can be effective as partners for the health resources to grow over time”.

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