The World Bank Nigeria Country Director, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, has revealed that the Bank’s support to fragile states, including Nigeria had hit 14 billion dollars.
He said the support which came through the International Development Association (IDA), an arm of the Bank, doubled in the last one year.
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..
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. (NAN)