World Bank de­cries Nige­ria’s ed­u­ca­tion, health in­dices

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - NEWS - From Clara Nwachukwu and Chi­jioke Nel­son, Bali, In­done­sia

NIGE­RIA, yes­ter­day, re­ceived an­other damn­ing as­sess­ment from the World Bank Group on its ed­u­ca­tion, health poli­cies and devel­op­ment, de­scrib­ing them as very poor.

The devel­op­ment now af­firms the long-stand­ing ar­gu­ment about dearth of skills among the coun­try's hu­man cap­i­tal, huge med­i­cal tourism that had eaten deep into ex­ter­nal re­serves and high de­pen­dence on aids and donors to fund health-re­lated projects. Not­ing the poor bud­get al­lo­ca­tions to both sec­tors against the 20 per cent by In­done­sia, and the woe­ful out­come with con­comi­tant ef­fects on the goal of rais­ing ad­e­quate hu­man cap­i­tal, the bank said it was a big dis­ap­point­ment for the rest of sub-sa­ha­ran Africa.

The group’s pres­i­dent, Jim Yong Kim, gave the verdict while un­veil­ing the 2018 Hu­man Cap­i­tal In­dex at the on­go­ing yearly meet­ings with In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund (IMF) in Nusa Dua, In­done­sia.

He de­cried the coun­try's "poor show" with huge outof-school chil­dren (about 13.5 mil­lion) and the 152nd po­si­tion among 157 coun­tries in the in­dex, stat­ing that the si­t­u­a­tion was not only a set­back for Nige­ria, but also dis­ap­point­ing for the re­gion that looks up to it.

"Hu­man cap­i­tal is a key driver of sus­tain­able, in­clu­sive eco­nomic growth, but in­vest­ing in health and ed­u­ca­tion has not got­ten the at­ten­tion it de­serves. This in­dex cre­ates a direct line be­tween im­prov­ing out- comes in health and ed­u­ca­tion, pro­duc­tiv­ity, and eco­nomic growth,” Kim said. Ac­cord­ing to him, a quar­ter of the world’s young peo­ple are un­likely to achieve their full po­ten­tial be­cause of chronic mal­nu­tri­tion and ill­ness that re­sult in stunt­ing, which per­ma­nently af­fects a child’s cog­ni­tive devel­op­ment, school per­for­mance, and fu­ture in­come.

The World Bank chief added that the in­dex gives pol­i­cy­mak­ers com­pelling ev­i­dence that de­liv­er­ing bet­ter out­comes in chil - dren’s health and learn­ing can sig­nif­i­cantly boost the in­comes of their peo­ple – and shape the di­rec­tion for their coun­tries – far into the fu­ture.

Mean­while, the Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of IMF, Chris­tine La­garde, has said ef­fec­tive struc­tural re­forms must in­clude mak­ing sure that the re­finer­ies and oil in­stal­la­tions in Nige­ria work well for the ben­e­fit of the cit­i­zens.

Brief­ing jour­nal­ists at the meet­ings, she said her hon­est rec­om­men­da­tions to the na­tion’s Min­is­ter of Fi­nance would be for her to start with an eye on the mone­tary pol­icy and higher non-oil rev­enue mo­bil­i­sa­tion.

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