Being the greatest asset of any nation, the most important goals for Nigeria and other governments, especially in West Africa, should be the improvement of the quality of life, living standards and means livelihood of his people, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN).
Osinbajo said so on Thursday in Abuja, during the launch of the Human Capital Development Programs -HCD- Integrated Regional Human Capital Development Strategy Papers for ECOWAS and Nigeria, by the Core Working Group on Human Capital Development. Human Capital from the National Economic Council (NEC).
According to a statement by his media assistant, Laolu Akande, at the event held at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, the Vice President was joined by the Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau, Mr. Nuno Gomes Nabiam; representatives of the vice-presidents of Sierra Leone and Senegal; and the Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Finda Koroma. There were also several state governors, deputy governors, and members of the Federal Executive Council.
In his speech, the Vice President stressed that “nothing is as important as ‘the happiness, security and general well-being of our people’.
Stressing the importance of investing in human capital development in any country, the Vice President said that “our people are at the heart of everything governments, the private sector and societal partners do. civil. The most important work we can do is planning and investing in human capital development, health care, nutrition, quality education, skills and jobs.
Highlighting the reasons why the government should invest more in its human capital development, including in the areas of health, education and nutrition, the vice president noted for example that “inadequate nutrition leads to suboptimal learning outcomes and a lifetime of disadvantage, especially in what is becoming a fiercely competitive knowledge economy.
“Also, because unemployed and young populations portend an increased risk of social instability; we need to invest in the right skills, because we offer well-paying jobs and opportunities. »
According to the vice president, “the efficient use of scarce resources is the thin line between a demographic dividend and a demographic catastrophe”.
Whether these resources are used wisely or used in the way that best benefits our people or whether these resources are wasted is what will mean the difference in the dividends we expect for our people or just misery and disaster” , added the vice-president.
Speaking further, Osinbajo said investments in HCD are more crucial at a time when the African continent has the youngest and growing population at about double the rate compared to the rest of the world.
“By 2050, West Africa will have 650 million inhabitants. Nearly 400 million will be young people. And we will have to provide them with basic education and quality health care, as well as nutrition,” the vice president noted.
Observing that Nigeria and other African countries are in a race against time, Professor Osinbajo further observed that “all this means that governments are faced with huge public expenditures, and these expenditures are increasing as our populations are increasing every day”.
However, despite local and global macroeconomic challenges, there are also opportunities for African governments to harness the potential of their people for further development, Professor Osinbajo pointed out.
“Within these enormous challenges lie the incredible opportunities to be the most profitable investment frontier in the world, to become the global food basket, to become the largest source of highly qualified human resources in the fields of technology, engineering, science and the creative sector, among others,” he noted.
The Vice President also recalled that in 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the National Human Capital Development Program tasking NEC to address critical welfare issues of citizens in a comprehensive and sustainable manner.
This directive led to the formation of the NEC HCD Steering Committee and Human Capital Development Core Working Group.
In her remarks, Ms. Yosola Akinbi, Head of the NEC HCD Core Task Force, noted that the HCD program was designed in recognition of the crucial role that human capital development plays in alleviating poverty and ensuring a sustainable economic growth.
Other ECOWAS leaders present, the event also received goodwill messages and remarks from the Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Finda Koroma; Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ms. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed; the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing; World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri; representative of the Aliko Dangote Foundation, Hajiya Fatima Wali; Deputy Chief of Staff to the President in the Office of the Vice-President, Mr. Ade Ipaye.