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Human capital, the crown jewel of economic development

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Nigerians populationBill Gates blamed African leaders for not investing in human capital development. The lack of investment in human capital is the reason the economy of Africa is small. These leaders have displaced mindfulness. Great countries prioritise the care of the masses. They take care of their basic needs which made them willing to sacrifice efforts for their nations.

From a Gates and Melinda Foundation reports, it was stated that by 2050, 40 per cent of the world’s poverty stricken people would be in two African countries, Nigeria and Congo DR. The annoying tragedy of this report is that these two countries’ are potentially supposed to be two of the richest countries on earth.

Going by the conservative estimate of Nigeria’s population which is 180 million at the moment, Nigeria is said to be the poverty capital of the world because 83 million of its citizens suffer from extreme poverty.

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Mention must be made that by 2050, according to the report, Nigeria will overtake the US as the 3rd most populated nation on earth going by her current birth rate which stands at 3.5 per cent and her population projected to be 400 million by 2050.

The estimated wealth of the Congo DR in mineral is said to be about $14 trillion and Nigeria’s oil reserve of over 30 billion barrels is enough to fuel the whole world for one year, yet Nigerians suffer from perpetual lack.

Compare the economic woes of these two countries with Rwanda. By the time Paul Kagame’s Rwanda Patriotic Front ended the genocide in 1994, almost 1 million of the people had perished in one of the worst massacres in the sad history of humanity. Kagame indicated that he was going to make Rwanda the pride of Africa but many people didn’t take him seriously, they thought he was talking through his hat.

How did Kagame transform a country with no mineral resources, situated in the poorest continent in the world and with people with love for slaughtering themselves, no thanks to the leit-motif of superiority? A trip to Rwanda would shock his cynics. Rwanda has one of the highest economic growths in the world today and on the average, the economy grows at an average of 8 per cent annually. Investors have been pouring money to build Rwandan infrastructure and many fortune 500 companies are scrambling to have presence in Rwanda. Rwandan Human Development Index is one of the best in Africa.

The generations that were born after the genocide in 1994 have no recollection of the tragic events and tribalism has been deemphasized. There is even a Rwanda National Airline whereas Nigeria, the so-called giant of Africa has for the umpteenth time stopped the attempt to establish a national carrier at the embryonic stage.

President Paul Kagame was able to transform Rwanda from being the sick country of Africa to the pride of the black race in just 24 years. He simply invested in the human capital which is a country’s greatest asset.  Knowing full well that many men had perished during the catastrophe of 1994, he built up the productivity of the populace simply by investing in the girl child. Rwandan women are one of the most educated and enlightened in the world. Educating the female child therefore is vital for the growth of every nation.

Simon Abah, Abuja

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