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Buhari Said We Should Only Concentrate On Northern Nigeria — World Bank President

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The President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, said on
Thursday that the bank had concentrated on the northern region of
Nigeria in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s request. Kim
and the Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Christine
Lagarde, who spoke at separate press conferences in Washington
DC, United States, also advised Buhari to invest in things that
would enhance economic growth.

The President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, said on
Thursday that the bank had concentrated on the northern region of
Nigeria in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s request.
Kim and the Managing Director, International Monetary Fund,
Christine Lagarde, who spoke at separate press conferences in
Washington DC, United States, also advised Buhari to invest in
things that would enhance economic growth.

Kim said, “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 has
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 an investment in human capital. The percentage of
the Gross Domestic Product that Nigeria spends on healthcare is
less than one percent.”

He added, “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 the future is what the
country has to focus on right now.”

Kim also said, “Focusing on the northern part of Nigeria, we hope
that as commodity prices stabilise 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.”
According to the World Bank boss, the bank will invest in human
capital in other parts of Africa in order to prepare the continent for
the next phase of growth.

Lagarde, in her remarks, said Sub-Saharan African countries,
including Nigeria, had posted suboptimal growth in recent times.
The growth figures, she said, were far too small considering the
huge demographic potential of Nigeria and other countries in the
region.

As a result, she said the IMF would be engaging ministers of
finance and central bank governors from the region attending the
annual World Bank and IMF meetings on how they could boost and
stabilise economic growth.

Lagarde said, “The Sub-Saharan Africa is one region of the world
where growth is suboptimal. Those countries grow at an average
growth of 2.5 percent. That is too low for the demographic
expansion of the region.”

The IMF managing director said emerging and developing
economies must invest more in their economies through
infrastructural spending, strengthening safety nets, allowing
women more access to the labour market and carrying structural
reforms.

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