8 'Ugly Truths' Bill Gates Said To Buhari
So, one of the world’s richest men, billionaire Microsoft founder, Bill Gates visited Nigeria recently.
He had the opportunity of speaking to Nigerian leaders, including President Buhari face to face.
Perhaps you have seen the photos and a few lines from his speech.
Bounce News laid hands on the entire speech and it reveals the Microsoft founder telling Nigerian leaders how bad Nigeria’s situation is.
Here are 7 of the hard truths that Bill shared with the nations leaders:
1. Don’t Over-Celebrate Exit from Recession
It is true that Nigeria has exited an economic recession that hit it for the first time in 25 years.
But Gates reminded Buhari not to take the growth so seriously.
“You are rapidly approaching upper middle-income status, like Brazil, China, and Mexico. But growth is not inevitable.
“Nigeria has unmatched economic potential, but what becomes of that potential depends on the choices you make as Nigeria’s leaders.”
2. You’re Wasting Time If You Don’t Invest In People
“The most important choice you can make is to maximise your greatest resource, the Nigerian people. Nigeria will thrive when every Nigerian is able to thrive,” Gates said.
He told the National Economic Council, “If you invest in their health, education, and opportunities—the “human capital” we are talking about today—then they will lay the foundation for sustained prosperity.
“If you don’t, however, then it is very important to recognise that there will be a sharp limit on how much the country can grow.”
3. Nigeria Is Not Even In The List of Low-Income Countries
Apparently, Gates had data in his presentation which showed quality of life in some countries.
So, looking at the data, he told the politicians, “You see this risk in the data. From the point of view of the quality of life, much of Nigeria still looks like a low-income country.
“Let me give a few examples. 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.”
4. Nigeria Is One Of The Most Dangerous Place On Earth To Give Birth
“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,” he said.
5. Bridges, Roads and Railways Won’t Develop Nigeria
Gates faulted the implementation of Buhari’s much touted Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, saying it is focusing too much on physical infrastructure, at the expense of vital human capital.
He said: “The Nigerian government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan identifies “investing in our people” as one of three “strategic objectives.” But the “execution priorities” don’t fully reflect people’s needs, prioritising physical capital over human capital.
“To anchor the economy over the long term, investments in infrastructure and competitiveness must go hand in hand with investments in people.”
He noted: “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.”
6. Nigeria Is Investing In Enduring Poverty
Gates reminded the politicians that that their current investments and policy decisions won’t Nigeria out of poverty but rather entrench it.
“If current education and health trends continue—if you spend the same amount in these areas and get the same results—per capita GDP flatlines, with economic growth just barely keeping up with population growth,” he stated.
“If things get worse, it will decline. Unfortunately, this scenario is a very real possibility unless you intervene at both the federal and state levels.
“Because even in the worst-case scenario, your national income level is about to make you ineligible for certain kinds of development assistance and loans that you’ve been relying on to fund your health system and other priorities.
“Without more and better spent domestic money, investment in your people will decline by default as donor money shrinks—a lose-lose scenario for everyonem,” he explained.
He emphasizes that Nigerian must invest in the people by prioritising health and education.
7. More Than Half Of Rural Nigerian Children Are Illiterate
This confirms what you already know. And Gates said “the conclusion is inescapable” as Nigeria’s economy tomorrow depends on improving its schools today.
“The same is true of health, our foundation’s primary focus area,” he added.
8. Nigeria’s Primary Health Care System Is Completely Broken
Gates narrates how, in 1978, Dr. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, who later became the Nigerian minister of health, helped establish primary health care as the global standard.
“We now know that a strong primary care system takes care of 90% of people’s health needs.
“Tragically, 40 years after Dr. Ransome-Kuti helped other countries set a course for the future, the Nigerian primary health care system is broken.”
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