The World Bank’s Nigeria Country Director, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, has disclosed that the bank’s support through the International Development Association (IDA) to fragile states, including Nigeria, increased substantially over the past year, rising to 14 billion dollars.
Benmessaoud made this disclosure today in Abuja at a conference with the theme, “Ideas for Action Africa’ hosted by the bank, in conjunction with the African University of Science and Technology and the University of Lagos.
The banking expert pointed out that the focus of the conference was to provide opportunities for the youth to contribute to the narrative shaping of Africa’s 2030 agenda and also the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Specifically, he described the Ideas for Action Africa as a powerful platform that availed the youth the means to have a say in the international development debate and provide practical solutions to the world’s most complex problems.
The Breton Woods institution leader explained further that to advance sustainable development and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the bank’s strategy was to invest more in people and pursue private sector solutions to maximise finance for development.
In addition, he listed the bank’s strategy to include, accelerating inclusive and sustainable economic growth through distribution of diversified economic opportunities across sectors and finally and fostering resilience to global shocks and threats.
He explained: “The underlying challenge remains the need for countries to mobilise domestic revenues, for development to be sustainable. This is because ultimately the ability to implement and sustain these programmes depends on political will of the government.
“Development has to be led by each country with a focus on protecting its most vulnerable and benefitting its poor.
“It is a moral responsibility on the part of everyone to do more to help people lift themselves out of both fragility and extreme poverty, to help stabilise the countries they live in, and to give them hope for the future.
“Against this backdrop, allocation for fragile states under the International Development Association (IDA) has doubled to more than 14 billion dollars. With this, we continue to find new and innovative ways to reach the poor and boost shared prosperity’’, Benmessaoud added.
He urged young Nigerians to put forth their best ideas and be a part of the innovation that Ideas for Action represents.
In his presentation at the forum, the President of African University of Science and Technology, Prof. Kingston Nyamapfene, described African youths as the engine of growth and positive change in the continent.
According to him, at the university, students of the university through the Pan African Materials Institute (PAMI) a programme supported by the World Bank has mathematical solutions for energy, water purification, sustainable building materials and healthcare challenges.
Nyamapfene said: “The concept is to bring the best minds all over Africa to do their M.sc and PhDs and in doing so, we challenge them to solve problems in these areas. We believe that young people can solve Africa’s problems. Over the years, PAMI has come up with several excellent proposals.
“However, we have another mile to go and that is to translate these research findings into visible products, goods and services to solve the infrastructure problems in Africa,’’ he added.
Some of the major highlights of the workshop, which was attended by over 100 Nigerian youths, include the intellectual brainstorming session and the conferment of award on the person with the most innovative idea to ending extreme poverty in Nigeria.