In 2014, Nigeria became Africa’s largest economy after changing the way output was calculated.

But it remains a low-income country with millions in crushing poverty.

Investment in infrastructure as well as economic growth has lagged far behind population growth.

For that to change, billionaire Microsoft founder, Bill Gates said Nigeria must spend more money to develop its people and not just on physical infrastructure.

Gates spoke during a meeting of Nigeria’s National Executive Council on Thursday in Abuja.

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In a separate interview with Reuters, he said the government needs to boost spending if it must lift millions out of poverty.

“That’s what drives the country towards self-sufficiency,” he said after addressing NEC meeting in Abuja.

Gates told the Nigerian Economic Council that neglecting investment in human capital would limit how much Nigeria can grow.

“We want childhood death to go down, we want malnutrition to go down, we want malaria deaths to go down and we want agricultural productivity to go up,” he said.

He noted that his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had committed $1.6 billion so far in Nigeria to fund pilot projects targeted at healthcare, agriculture and financial inclusion, its biggest investment in Africa.

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