Speaking at Nigeria's National Economic Council (NEC) meeting which was discussing human capital development, Bill Gates adviced Nigeria's government to diversify from the oil sector. Gates said this at the meeting held on 22 March 2018 at President Muhammadu Buhari's presidential villa in Abuja.
Also present when Gates was giving his speech was Afrika's richest person, Aliko Dangote, along with Nigeria's Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who is the chairman of the NEC, as well as other Nigerian policy makers.
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari hosting Bill Gates and Aliko Dangote for dinner at the presidential villa. | Presidency Nigeria.
"Healthy people need opportunities to thrive and one of the most important of these opportunities is agriculture, the sector that nourishes Nigerians and supports half the population especially the poorest,” said Gates.
One of the sectors Gates highlighted as a possible alternative investment to the oil sector that the government can put more effort into, is the agriculture sector. Gates believes that the agriculture sector could provide Nigeria's fiscus a boost as far as revenue generation goes. He cited that only 4% of farmers in Nigerian have access to loans to grow their farming businesses. Words that will likely excite Nigerian AgriTech startup, FarmCrowdy, as Gates added that digital financial tools can change this.
“Where three quarters of people have mobile phones, digital financial services can offer the potential to boost the economy from top to bottom. Right now more than 50 million Nigerian adults are at the whim of chance and the informal economy. With access to digital financial tools, they can cope better with disaster that threatens to wipe them out, build assets and a credit history and gradually lift themselves out of poverty,” said Gates.
FarmCrowdy recently closed a $1 million seed funding round as well as securing a $325,000 grant from GSMA at the 2018 Mobile World Congress.
Cover image credit: Bill Gates with Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari. | Presidency Nigeria