The President of the World Bank Group, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, has said policy makers in Nigeria and other African countries are ill-prepared to compete in the digital technology space, expressing concern over the continent’s low level of investment in human capital.
Kim, who made the statement at the 2018 IMF/World Bank spring meetings opening press conference in Washington D.C., pointed out that investment in human capital would assist Nigeria and others in the region to drive growth.
The World Bank chief also lamented the rising level of public debt in the region.
“We are extremely concerned that many African countries are not prepared to compete in what is increasingly becoming a digitalised economy.
“We also see evidence that many of the low-skilled jobs will be taken over by technology and there is also tremendous hope for technology in many African countries.
“We just have to find new ways of driving economic growth. There is no getting away from the need to invest much more effectively in health and education,” he said.
Kim said there was need to adequately prepare youths on the continent to be able to compete favourably with their peers from other continents in the future.
According to him, “Human capital is a huge issue. If we look at all the difficulties in terms of increasing resources for targeted infrastructure like roads and energy, we also need to look at increasing investments in human capital.
“I think every African country has to look more seriously at how to increase its own domestic resources. In other words, they should be better at collecting taxes.
“To provide basic resources, every country should collect at least 15 per cent of tax-to-GDP. Many countries have not reached that level. Also, if African countries were to remove fossil fuel subsidy that are regressive, helping the rich more than the poor.
“Even some agricultural subsidies are regressive, they don’t help the small holding farmers.”
In his opening remarks, Kim noted that the global economy was showing solid momentum.
He said the World Bank had projected global growth to edge up to 3.1 per cent in 2018 – its strongest performance since 2011 – as the recovery in investment, manufacturing, and trade continues, and as commodity-exporting developing economies benefit from firming commodity prices.
“The challenge now is to ensure that strong growth will translate into inclusive growth, so that the benefits of global economic integration are enjoyed by all members of society.
“This period of robust growth is a great opportunity to invest in human and physical capital. Filling infrastructure gaps, improving education and health outcomes, and increasing female labour force participation could continue to drive growth.
“If policy makers around the world focus on these key initiatives, they can increase their countries’ productivity, boost workforce participation, and move closer to the goals of ending extreme poverty and increasing shared prosperity,” he added.
In a related development, the Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Thursday pointed out that without the development of critical infrastructure on the continent, it would be difficult to achieve a successful digital economy.
Elumelu, who spoke during a session on Digital Technology, which was moderated by the World Bank president, said: “The truth is that the population of Africa presents opportunities. We have 60 per cent of our working population at the age of 30 and we have 65 per cent of our economy in the informal sector.
“But this presents quite interesting opportunities for a digital economy. In my interactions with young Africans, I have seen people who are determined, energetic, hungry to succeed and make a difference and are extremely intelligent, but the environment makes it difficult for them to succeed.
“You can’t talk about a digital economy in Africa without fixing critical infrastructure. Digital connectivity is a major issue in Africa and you can’t fix it if you don’t have reliable access to electricity.
“So, if we want to truly address the issue of a digital economy in Africa, these challenges have to be fixed.
“Secondly is the issue of governance. Governments need to understand that if we prioritise the young ones and make the operating environment conducive, they would be able to optimise the required intellect, they would do well, and we would be able to solve some of the problems on the continent.”
Elumelu, who is also the Chairman of the United Bank for Africa Group, also highlighted regulation, intellectual property and the need to incentivise investors, as other factors that would help drive the digital economy on the continent.
“For the entrepreneurs in Africa, I will say let’s not look at the challenges, but the opportunities. There are lots of opportunities in the continent and we need to look at these opportunities.
“Let’s fix policy issues and all these issues I have identified and investors will come to Africa,” Elumelu added.
Cabals Are Not Controlling My Govt — Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has struck out claims of a cabal influencing decisions in his government.
First Lady, Aisha Buhari has been claiming for a while now that a cabal is controlling her husband’s government.
President Buhari in an interview with The Interview Newspaper stated that he’s the only one that took an oath for the office of the President and can exercise the power that comes with it.
He said: “I was the one who went round the country on campaigns, and I was the one voted into office as President, twice. No one else did, and no one else took the oath of office, and can exercise the powers of a President.”
Reps Ask Service Chiefs To Resign Immediately
Members of the House of Representatives today passed a vote of no confidence on all the service chiefs, asking them to either resign their positions immediately or be sacked by President Buhari.
The lawmakers made the call during its plenary in Abuja Wednesday, January 29th.
While debating on the nation’s rising insecurity, a member of the House, Abubakar Fulata, informed his colleagues that the service chiefs had outlived their usefulness and that it will be to the detriment of the country if these men keep doing the same thing repeatedly and expect a different result in tackling the security challenges Nigeria is grappling with.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, thereafter put the question to the lawmakers whether the service chiefs should resign and leave their offices or be sacked. Although there was a divide among the members in their response, majority of the lawmakers answered in the affirmative and the resolution was passed.
The service chiefs include the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, Chief of Naval Staff, and the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar. They were appointed in July 2015.
NYSC Approves N33,000 Monthly Allowance For Corps Members
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has increased the monthly allowance of corps members to N33, 000.
Corps members were getting N19, 800 until the latest review.
Director General of NYSC, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, announced the increase during a working visit to the NYSC secretariat in Bauchi.
He said the increase is in line with the new minimum wage approved by the federal government.
In a statement on the official Facebook page of NYSC, Ibrahim informed provisions for the new allowance have been made in the 2020 budget and “payment would commence as soon as funds are released by the appropriate authorities”.
The DG had pledged the monthly allowance of corps members would be increased “immediately the federal government starts the payment of the new minimum wage”.
“Your monthly allowance would be increased immediately the Federal Government starts the payment of the new minimum wage to all public servants nationwide,” he said in an address delivered at the NYSC orientation camp in Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos.
“Efforts are in top gear at all levels to ensure adequate welfare for all corps members.”
President Muhammadu Buhari signed the new minimum wage bill into law in April 2019.