Dangote asks northern governors to combat extreme poverty rate in Northern Nigeria

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote has berated Northern governors for doing little to end poverty in the region.

The President of the Dangote Group, on Wednesday why delivering a keynote address at the 4th edition of Kaduna Economic and Investment summit (KADInvest 4.0) expressed concern about the high rate of poverty in the North, saying northern governors should wake up to address the problem.

He said more than 60 percent of the population in north-west and north-eastern parts of the country live in extreme poverty.

“Our country human developmental indicators rank poorly when compared with global averages. Nigeria is ranked at 157 out of 189 countries in the areas of human development index,”

According to him, the north will continue to lag behind if the state governments do not take steps to tackle development challenges.

He said, “The North must focus on harnessing its massive agricultural potential in terms of both production and processing. No region with high such agricultural potential should be this poor. “We have what it takes to turn around our fortunes and I pray all the 19 governors of the northern states will wake up and follow the footsteps of the Kaduna State Government.

Given the vast arable land and conducive condition, I think in the next 10 years, agriculture can generate more revenue and prosperity than oil that we have now if we have the right commitment.”

He also told governments in the region to identify their areas of comparative advantage, adding that the provision of information and data on what was available in various states was equally necessary.

It is instructive to know that the 19 northern states which account for over 54 percent of the country’s population and 70 percent of its landmass collectively generated only 21 percent of the total sub national internally generated revenue in 2017.

“Northern Nigeria will continue to fall behind if respective state governments do not move to close the development gap and that is why we are always saying that the biggest challenge we have and what we are always praying for is to have 10 governors like Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.”

He said only the private sector can raise the amount of capital required to find the kind of investment required.

According to him, private investment will create jobs and go a long way to erase the challenge of unemployment and poverty.

“Government must create a conducive environment that will trigger a huge inflow of private capital into the private sector of the economy,” he said.

“As more people get employed, you will notice a sharp decline in some of the social vices now prevalent in our society.”

Dangote said while several states are taking steps in this direction, only a few are making visible progress, citing Kaduna as an example.

“As the capital of the former northern region, Kaduna continues to lead on several matrix. Kaduna currently has the highest WAEC pass rate in the north and second highest IGR generation in the northern part of the region after Kano,” he said.

“We have what it takes to turn around our fortunes and I pray all the 19 governors of the northern states will wake up and follow the footsteps of Kaduna State government.

“As private sector investment propels an upsurge in economic activities, the financial viability of state governments will also improve. State governments will have more money to invest in human capital development and the rampant cases of insecurity as we have it now will subside.

“The north must focus on harnessing its massive agric potentials in terms of both production and processing. No region with such agric potentials should be this poor.

“Given the vast tracts of arable land and conducive condition, I think in the next ten years, Agriculture can generate more revenue and prosperity than oil that we have now if we have the right commitment.

He Hadded that his group was partnering Peugeot of France and Kaduna State government to establish multi-billion naira automobile assembly in Kaduna State.

He also disclosed that Dangote Group will be considering investing in dairy production in Kaduna state, saying the trend of importing 98 per cent of milk consumed in Nigeria at the rate of $1.3 billion is unhealthy coupled with the fact that the imported milk is unhealthy. “he said”.

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