By Racheal Ishaya
The World Bank Nigeria Country Director, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, says that the Bank’s support to fragile states, including Nigeria has hit 14 billion dollars.
The support which came through the International Development Association (IDA) arm of the bank, double in the last one year says the Bank’s country representattive.
Benmessaoud said this on Tuesday in Abuja at a conference with the theme, “Ideas forAction Africa’ being hosted by the bank, in conjunction with the African University of Science and Technology and the University of Lagos.
He said that the focus of the programme was to provide opportunities for the youth to contribute to the narrative shaping Africa’s 2030 agenda and also the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to him, the Ideas forAction Africa is a powerful platform that gives young people the means to have a say in the international development debate and provide practical solutions to the world’s most complex problems.
He said 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.
Benmessaoud also said that the World Bank’s strategy also includes accelerating inclusive and sustainable economic growth through distribution of diversified economic opportunities across sectors and finally, fostering resilience to global shocks and threats.
“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,’’ he said.
Benmessaoud urged young Nigerians to put forth their best ideas and be a part of the innovation that is Ideas for Action.
Also speaking, the President, African University of Science and Technology, Prof. Kingston Nyamapfene described African youths as the engine of growth and positive change in the continent.
He said that at the university, students through the Pan African Materials Institute (PAMI) a programme supported by the World Bank had mathematical solutions for energy, water purification, sustainable building materials and healthcare challenges.
“The concept is to bring the best minds all over Africa to do their Msc 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 said.
The Ideas for Africa workshop was attended by more than 100 young Nigerians.
The highlight of the event was the brainstorming session and conferment of award on the person with the most innovative idea to ending extreme poverty in Nigeria.