The richest man in Africa and the Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has said Nigerian government needs to invest in the ability of the country’s youth to learn and apply new skills, adding that job creation is possible only when the people are healthy.
He said this at the special and expanded National Economic Council meeting held in Abuja on Thursday.
He said: “The government needs to invest in the youth’s ability to learn and apply new skills in an ever-changing global economy. That at its core, is what we mean by human capital; healthy and productive and well-educated young people who are then enabled to succeed, lift up themselves and their families, and contribute to the society through their own ingenuity.
“As a business leader, it is my responsibility to offer job opportunity, but I can only do that when the people themselves are healthy and have the basic skills”.
The second richest man in the world and founder of Microsoft Corporation, Mr Bill Gates corroborated Mr. Dangote’s position, stating that the Nigerian government needs to invest in the people.
He said the present economic templates being used by President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government cannot address the needs of Nigeria’s teeming population.
He tasked Nigerian leaders to sincerely invest in not just infrastructural development, but also the human investment.
Mr. Gate said though Nigeria is rapidly approaching upper-middle-income status, the country has “unmatched economic potential and what becomes of that potential depends on the choice Nigerian leaders’ make.”
He said the Nigerian government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) identifies “investing in our people” as one of three “strategic objectives”.
But the “execution priorities” do not fully reflect people’s needs,” prioritizing physical capital over human capital”, he said.
“To anchor the economy over the long term, investments in infrastructure and competitiveness must go hand in hand with investment in people. 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,” Gates said.
He added that the most important choice Nigerian leaders can make is “to maximize the country’s greatest resource, which is the people”.
“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 recognize that there will be a sharp limit on how much the country can grow,” he said