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WORLD BANK: Buhari’s Unchanging Focus; Constant Like The Northern Star

The Oasis Reporters

October 13, 2017

Jim Yong Kim, Muhammadu Buhari

There is one intrinsic quality that can never be taken away from Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian president. He is ethnocentric and really doesn’t care a hoot about what any other person thinks of him.

That basic character was starkly made known when he newly won the Nigerian presidential election in 2015, for in far away USA, he openly told an international interviewer on television that those who gave him 95% of the votes in the election would be better treated while those that gave him a mere 5% vote should not expect equal opportunities, “that is the reality”, Mr. Buhari went on.

In his appointments he has kept faith with his Fulani tribesmen first, before his other northern brethren and the southwest bloc that actually made him win. Just as his appointments showed in 1984/85 during his time as military ruler.
Then almost 95% of the members of his ruling Supreme Military Council, SMC were northerners who had plotted and executed the coup that ushered him in to power.

It came therefore as no surprise when 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 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 sub optimal 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.

Consequently, 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, Christine Lagarde added .

She went on, “The Sub-Saharan Africa is one region of the world where growth is sub optimal. Those countries grow at an average growth of 2.5 per cent. That is too low for the demographic expansion of the region.”

The IMF managing director insisted that the 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.

Lack of equal emphasis on all sides of the country has spurn feelings of alienation especially in the south east and the Niger Delta region that has cost the Buhari administration much more financial investments in the security architecture designed to put down separatist agitations.



Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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