Renowned philanthropist and second richest man in the world, Bill Gates, has publicly given the leaders of Nigeria some tough talk.
Gates is one who carefully stays away from politics but considering his huge donations to Nigeria through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, one can’t be too surprised about his concerns.
“While it may be easier to be polite, it’s more important to face facts so that you can make progress,” the philanthropist told a room of Nigeria’s government elite that included the president.
In an exclusive television interview with CNN, Gates said he wanted to speak out to implore Nigerian politicians to focus on human capital and its large youth population.
“The current quality and quantity of investment in this young generation in health and education just isn’t good enough. So I was very direct.”
Gates says he has traveled to Nigeria for more than a decade and the foundation is spending $1.6 billion on programs in Nigeria — most of it his own money.
Their primary focus is health and their work has been incredibly successful in mitigating the threat of polio, particularly in the crisis hit northeast of the country.
Gates feels, along with many others, that it is time for Nigeria’s government to do better.
The continent’s largest economy is moving out of a recession caused by a tanking oil price and moving towards a closely watched presidential election in 2019.
Gates believes, together with Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man and a close partner of the Gates Foundation, that if the Nigerian government does a few things differently, then the country is poised for lift off.
“I really think that of all the countries I have seen, it really hangs in the balance. If they can get health and education right, they can be an engine of growth, not just for themselves but for all of Africa,” said Gates.
Additional Reports By CNN