Left to right: CEO dangote group Alhaji Aliko dangote, vice president yemi osinbanjo middle and Mr Bill Gate at the state house in Abuja on Thursday.
The Co – Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation , Mr . Bill Gates , on Thursday urged the Federal Government to invest more in health and education .
He said the country would do better with strong investment in health and education , rather than concentrating on physical infrastructure, to the detriments of human capital development .
Gates spoke alongside the Chairman of the Dangote Foundation , Alhaji Aliko Dangote , at a special session of the National Economic Council held at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja .
The theme of the event was “ Role of human capital investment in supporting pro – poor and economic growth agenda . ”
The council chaired by Vice – President Yemi Osinbajo has all the 36 state governors , relevant ministers and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria as members .
Gates said available statistics showed that the country “ still looks like a low – income country. ”
He also described Nigeria as “ one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth . ”
He claimed that one in three Nigerian children are chronically malnourished .
Nigeria , he added, has the fourth worst maternal mortality rate in the world , only ahead of Sierra Leone , Central African Republic , and Chad .
“ 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 , ” he said .
He also took a look at the government ’ s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan , saying it does not reflect people’ s needs .
He said investment in infrastructure and competitiveness must go hand in hand with investments in people, to anchor the economy over the long term .
He , however , noted that Nigeria ’ s approach places more priorities on physical capital over human capital development .
“ The Nigerian government ’ s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan identifies investing in people as one of three strategic objectives . But the execution priorities don’ t fully reflect people’ s needs , prioritising physical capital over human capital , ” he noted .