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Gov Obaseki Proposes Solutions to Nigeria’s Economic Challenges at Oxford Conference

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has proposed key strategies to address Nigeria’s economic challenges.

Governor Obaseki who presented these ideas during his keynote address at the 2024 Oxford University Conference, themed “Charting Africa’s Path Forward: A Journey of Possibilities,” organized by the Oxford University Africa Society at the Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford, United Kingdom, emphasized the need for the government to step back and implement policies that empower citizens to generate wealth.

In his address titled “Unlocking Africa’s Potential: The Power of Public-Private Partnership,” Obaseki further highlighted the transformative changes his administration has implemented in Edo State, which have significantly boosted the State’s economy, raising the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to over $26 billion in the past seven years.

“To grow the economy, the government needs to step back and advance policies that enable people to create wealth,” Obaseki stated. He underscored the importance of focusing on institutions and governance to achieve economic growth. “We reformed our civil service, digitized government processes, and made critical data accessible at the click of a button,” he explained.

Obaseki emphasized the role of human capital development in driving these changes. “We have enhanced the civil service’s pride and respect, ensuring they are well remunerated. Recently, we announced the highest minimum wage in the country, although it remains inadequate,” he noted.

The governor also pointed out that the government’s primary role is not to build the economy directly but to create an environment where citizens can thrive. This includes efficient tax collection and regulatory reforms to support business activities.

Education has been a cornerstone of Obaseki’s administration. “We focused on foundational literacy and numeracy, transforming basic education in the State. Today, children in Edo learn 70 to 80 percent as much as their peers in Britain or America,” he said. Obaseki argued that education should equip individuals to contribute meaningfully to society, not just to obtain certificates.

Addressing vocational education, Obaseki highlighted the crisis of youth migration, with over 30,000 youths in Libya awaiting passage to Europe in 2017. “This humanitarian crisis underscored the need to fix our broken education system,” he said, detailing efforts to revitalize vocational training.

Infrastructure development has also been a priority. “We focused on roads, bridges, energy, and digital infrastructure to drive economic growth,” Obaseki explained.

Edo State now supplies nearly 13 percent of Nigeria’s electricity and has developed significant digital infrastructure, including almost 2000km of fiber optic cables, with an additional 300km underway to connect schools and healthcare centers.



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