Bill Gates urges the Nigerian government to increase investment in equitable solutions, as Nigerians still face the challenges discussed five years ago and grapple with economic instability and security threats.
Nigeria’s state and federal governments spend only $10 per person annually on health, compared to $31 in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, highlighting the need for a larger financial commitment to improve primary health systems and ensure access to essential healthcare services and vaccines.
Bill Gates plans to engage with the Nigerian government to enhance commitments to agriculture and digital financial systems.
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to increase its investment in equitable solutions for the country.
Speaking at the Pan-African Youth Innovation Forum in Lagos, Gates emphasized that Nigerians continue to face the same challenges he highlighted five years ago, including economic instability and security threats. He further revealed that Nigeria’s state and federal governments spend only $10 per person annually on healthcare, in contrast to the $31 average in sub-Saharan Africa.
Gates’s remarks underscore the urgent need for greater financial commitment to improve the healthcare system and address the basic needs of the Nigerian population.
Bill Gates urged the Tinubu government to make a much bigger financial commitment, focused most of all on improving primary health systems.
In the forum themed: Advancing Africa: Unleashing the Power of Youth in Science and Innovation”, he cited that Nigeria was full of talented people with a lot of potentials, and warned it could be hard to fulfil that potential if they don’t have access to the most basic building blocks of life.
“It may not surprise you that Nigeria’s state and federal governments only spend the equivalent of $10 on health per person each year, compared to $31 in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.
“Leaders need to make a much bigger financial commitment, focused most of all on improving primary health systems.
“Making sure clinics are well-staffed and supplied, making sure children get the vaccines they need—all of this is absolutely essential to improving health and opportunity and unlocking all of Nigeria’s potential,” he said.
Agriculture Systems and Old Problems
He also noted that he plans to speak with the government about increasing commitments to agriculture and digital financial systems but stated that Nigerians still suffer from many unsolved challenges, adding :
“The last time I visited Nigeria in 2018, I spoke to government leaders about your country’s potential for growth. This time, I wanted to speak also with you: Nigeria’s next generation of innovators.
“Ever since I was a teenager, writing computer code on a terminal at my high school, and later at Microsoft, I have loved the feeling of innovating to make something a little better for people or a lot better. I’m sure you know this feeling too. There’s going to be a lot of opportunity for you to continue to make a difference in the world, because of the unprecedented potential of new technologies.
“However, Nigerians are still facing many of the challenges I talked about five years ago and you have to contend with economic instability and security threats. I have a lot of faith that your generation will persevere and improve lives throughout Nigeria and beyond,” he said.
Bill Gates noted that in the future, Intelligence (AI) will be applied in ways that will bring quality health care and education to more people.
He added AI has the potential to save and improve lives, but, said that won’t happen if profit was the only motive, adding:
“So, our foundation is thinking about what we can do to help AI develop in ways that improve the lives and well-being of everyone, not just the wealthiest people in a few rich countries.
“The foundation has issued a call for proposals or what we call a “Grand Challenge” for innovative, safe uses of large language models.
“We received 1,300 proposals, and half of them were from Africa. The winners will be announced in Senegal in October.
“We hope what emerges will help build an evidence base for advancing equitable outcomes in health and development everywhere in the world,” he said.
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