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Presidency clarifies Buhari’s statement to World Bank on shifting focus to “northern region of Nigeria”

The Presidency has reacted to reports making the rounds that President Buhariasked that the World Bank shifts its “focus to the northern region of Nigeria”.

President Buhari asked that we shift focus to Northern Nigeria – World Bank President Jim Yong Kim

Speaking at the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Bank Group, president of World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim said President Muhammadu Buhari asked that the group shifts focus to Northern Nigeria, saying “the work there has been very difficult”.

He said he advised Buhari that Nigeria has to invest in its people, and in things that will allow the country thrive.

He 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.”

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.

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.

The presidency, reacting to the reports, said that Kim “was specifically asked a question about the Bank’s intervention in Northeast Nigeria.”

The presidency also shared a screenshot from the transcript at the meeting, which showed that a reporter from Nigeria asked  Kim “What can you tell us about Nigeria, specifically your intervention in the power sector, and also, what is the World Bank doing to support those ravaged in the northeastern part of Nigeria by the Boko Haram terrorists?  Thank you.”

See below:

A statement signed by Buhari’s Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) Femi Adesina to that effect also read:


Buharis statement shifting focus north east
Buharis statement shifting focus north east2

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