Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the next two decades look bright for Africa if the continent can remain focus on good governance.
According to a statement on Saturday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, the Vice President said this in a lecture titled “The Challenges of Human Development in 21st Century Africa” which he delivered at the Oxford University, United Kingdom, on Friday.
Osinbajo said human capital development must be a priority of public policy of governments across Africa to effectively tackle poverty and improve long-term development on the continent.
“All over Africa, the political will to better the lot of our restive populations is evident, innovative ideas are also in abundance; if we keep our focus, especially on good governance, the next two decades may truly be the African decades,” he said.
Osinbajo highlighted ongoing efforts of the Nigerian government and the progress it has made in improving the country’s Human Capital Development indices and investment climate, as well as the impact of the National Social Investment Programmes.
He said while non-governmental and philanthropic organizations help to bridge development gaps through various interventions, governments have a major moral duty to ensure human capital development is its major priority as tackling poverty will boost growth and development across different sectors.
“Governments are also best placed to deploy the public policy tools required to bring about synergy between growth objectives and social needs,” he said, while calling on African governments to prioritise investments in its people.
He said the present administration’s N-SIP was among its far-reaching policies in this regard, noting that it will continue to make policies and initiatives to improve human capital development in Nigeria.
The Vice President noted that a major plank of the Federal Government’s approach to empowerment “is to improve financial inclusion.”
“Our Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programmers an important tool for financially empowering small businesses, artisans, market women, petty traders, and table top traders,” he said.
Highlighting the nationwide impact of the N-SIPs, the Vice President noted that 349,000 new bank accounts have been open, while almost half a million small businesses in Nigeria have accessed the loan under the MarketMoni scheme – a short tenor interest-free credit of between N50, 000 and N300, 000 for small businesses under the auspices of their cooperative societies as a risk management device.
Also, by the end of this year, he said two million petty traders nationwide are expected to benefit from the TraderMoni, which provides them collateral and interest-free N10, 000 loans.