Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on Wednesday stated that Nigerians are still facing many of the challenges he talked about five years ago, and having to contend with economic instability and security threats.
Bill Gates made this known while speaking at the Youth Innovation Forum which was held in Lagos, themed ‘Advancing Africa: Unleashing the Power of Youth in Science and Innovation.’ Adding that Nigerian leaders need to make more financial commitment to improving healthcare and education.
The billionaire explained that there would be opportunities for youths to make a difference in the world because of the unprecedented potential of new technologies.
He said talented young people were powerful assets, noting that despite rapid innovations, the progress had not been distributed equitably.
“Even though Nigerians are still facing many of the challenges I talked about five years ago, and you’re having to contend with economic instability and security threats, I have a lot of faith that your generation will persevere and improve lives throughout Nigeria and beyond,” Gates said.
“Nigeria has one of the biggest youth populations in the world, and it’s growing fast. That represents a lot of potential skills and passion to solve big problems.
“For youths to shine, they need support, starting with a great education.
“In this capacity, Nigeria has a strong foundation, with some of the best educational and research institutions across the continent. In Africa, Nigeria is a hub for venture capital and financial technology.
“There are also many exciting innovations in the global pipeline that are going to improve lives here in Nigeria.
“They’re going to prevent infectious diseases, provide life-saving interventions for mothers and babies, make food more nutritious, and give women more convenient contraception options. Down the road, artificial intelligence will be applied in ways that will bring quality healthcare and education to more people.
“I’m a huge believer in the power of science and innovation to help people lead long, healthy lives. But one of the big lessons I’ve learned is that the benefits don’t automatically reach everyone.
“To do that, the people creating new breakthroughs, the people funding them, and the people getting them into the world all need to prioritise equity.
“The message that I shared with President Tinubu on Monday, and what I’ll share with other leaders tomorrow, is that they must invest in equitable solutions—and invest in the people who are working on them.
“Nigeria is full of talented people with a lot of potential. But it can be very hard to fulfil that potential if you don’t have access to the most basic building blocks of life,” he said.