The Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Bill Gates, on Wednesday, urged the Federal Government to improve investment in health and other areas of the nation’s economy.
He made the call at the Pan-African Youth Innovation Forum held in Lagos as part of activities in Nigeria.
Gates, who said Nigeria was full of talented people with a lot of potentials, noted that it could be hard to fulfill the potential without access to the “most basic building blocks of life.”
He said: “It may not surprise you that Nigeria’s state and federal governments only spend the equivalent of $10 on health per person each year, compared to $31 in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.
“Leaders need to make a much bigger financial commitment, focused most of all on improving primary health systems.
“Making sure clinics are well-staffed and supplied, making sure children get the vaccines they need—all of this is absolutely essential to improving health and opportunity and unlocking all of Nigeria’s potential.”
The billionaire promised to speak with the government about increasing commitments to agriculture and digital financial systems.
He stressed that Nigerian youths have shown how passionate they are about progress and encouraged the leaders to follow through on their commitments.
Gates added: “The last time I visited Nigeria in 2018, I spoke to government leaders about your country’s potential for growth.
“This time, I wanted to speak also with you: Nigeria’s next generation of innovators.
“Ever since I was a teenager, writing computer code on a terminal at my high school, and later at Microsoft, I have loved the feeling of innovating to make something a little better for people—or a lot better.
“I’m sure you know this feeling too.
“There’s going to be a lot of opportunity for you to continue to make a difference in the world, because of the unprecedented potential of new technologies.
“However, Nigerians are still facing many of the challenges I talked about five years ago—and you have to contend with economic instability and security threats.
“I have a lot of faith that your generation will persevere and improve lives throughout Nigeria and beyond.”
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.