Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote has profferred reasons why the Northern Nigeria is poor inspite of its huge agricultural potentials. Speaking at the fourth Economic and Investment summit in Kaduna on Wednesday, Dangote, who was the guest speaker noted that more than 60 per cent of the populace in the North live in abject poverty.
“In the North western and North eastern part of Nigeria, more than 60 per cent of the population live in extreme poverty.“It is instructive to know that the 19 northern states which account for over 54 per cent of the country’s population and 70 per cent of its landmass collectively generated only 21 per cent of the total sub national internally Generated Revenue in 2017.
According to him, “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 ten governors like Mallam Nasir el-RRufai.“Closing this gap requires multi layer investments and government will not be able to muster the needed funds.“Only private sector can raise the amount of capital required to find the kind of investment required. Government must create a conducive environment that will trigger a huge inflow of private capital into the private sector of the economy.“Private investment will create jobs and will go a long way to erase the challenge of unemployment and poverty.
As more people get employed, you will notice a sharp decline in some of the social vices now prevalent in our society.“Kaduna State is a shining example of this. While several states are taking steps in this direction, only a few like Kaduna are making visible progress.“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.“As private sector investment propels an upsurge in economic activities, the financial viability of state governments will also improve.
“The north must focus on harnessing it’s massive agric potentials in terms of both production and processing. No region with such agric potentials should be this poor.“We have what it takes to turn around our fortunes and I pray all the19 governors of the northern states will wake up and follow the foot steps of Kaduna State government.‘Given the vast tracts of 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.
Dangote said for his company, “we are ready to partner with any government that creates enabling environment.”