The World Bank has taken responsibilty for advising Nigeria and other african countries to adopt the approach of investing more in infrastructural development rather than in education and health.
The World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, made this known while briefing the media on Thursday at the ongoing International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group Annual Meeting in Bali, Indonesia.
Kim noted that the wrong advice has left negative marks on african nations thereby inhibiting their development and such can be seen in the case of Nigeria ranking 152 out of 157 countries on the Human capital index
The index measures countries’ contribution of health and education to the productivity of the next generation of their workers.
According to Kim “Many African countries are in the red zone. I think that the World Bank has to take some responsibility for having emphasized hard infrastructure, roads, rails, energy, for a long time,” he said.
“And you know, that changed about 20 years ago. But there has still been the bias that says ‘You know, we’ll invest in hard infrastructure and then when we grow rich, we’ll have enough money to invest in health and education’.
“We’re now saying that that’s really the wrong approach, that you’ve got to start investing in your people right now.”
On Nigeria’s low ranking Kim said it should be viewed as a message to spur African nations and set priorities straight by investing in health and education sectors.
“Nigeria is one of the most important countries not only in Africa but in the world. And also we feel that it will be extremely important for Nigeria to really go on a different level altogether in terms of their commitment to investing in human capital.
And so this is a very loud and strong message to Africa. Africa needs to invest more in health and education.
“The message here is that heads of state and ministers of finance have to take responsibility. There’s so much waiting for the grants to come. And what’s happened is in many African countries, if they don’t receive grant-based financing, they just simply don’t spend on health and education.”