Presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili, has called on the federal government to intensify efforts in lifting citizens out of poverty.
Ezekwesili’s statement was in reaction to a recently released World Bank report, which indicates that by 2030, about nine out of 10 extremely poor people in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to the report, the rate of extreme poverty and the number of poor people in South Asia, which has been constantly declining, will continue resulting in a shift from South Asia to sub-Saharan Africa.
In her reaction, Ezekwesili noted that Nigeria, which has been described as the poverty capital of the world, “has the potential to lead the rest of the continent out of its present socio-economic reality.”
According to her, the country can only advance by promoting human capital development and implementing sound economic policies.
“The Asian nations that have pulled their citizens out of extreme poverty in recent times have done it by facilitating human capital development while maintaining focus on sound and robust policies for rapid economic development.
“The quality of leadership in Nigeria is a key determining factor in lifting majority of the country’s poor out of their present state. But what we presently have are leaders who do not have a vision for a better Nigeria, neither do they have the capacity to bring about real change. They are incapable of taking us out of the mess they put us in the first place, so we must think beyond them in order to develop,” Ezekwesili said.
The World Bank report states that by 2030, the portion of the poor living in sub-Saharan Africa could be as large as 87 per cent based on historical growth rates.
It further indicates that stronger economic growth and renewed efforts to resolve violent conflicts will be crucial to speed up the rate of poverty reduction on the continent.