By: Bamidele Fashube
NGOZI Okonjo-Iweala, former Managing Director of World Bank, on Friday further recognised the severe impacts of climate change, saying the changes in the atmospheric condition is here to stay and need for everyone to work in alliance to finding sustainable solutions.
She disclosed this when the former Minister of Finance appeared as a guest on AriseTV, to speak on a series of issues of global and national interest including activities of the African Risk Capacity Group.
Okonjo-Iweala said with the African Risk Capacity, African Union member nations affected by climate change impacts such as flooding, drought etc should get immediate assistance without necessarily waiting for global interventions.
Describing the firm as a sovereign insurance agency, she likened climate change to a pandemic the world at large is grappling to address.
“Climate change is here to stay and we have to figure our countries will deal with it. It is one of the global common issues, just like the pandemics that the world is struggling with. So the fact that Africa has an organisation – a sovereign insurance agency, that’s what the Africa Risk Capacity is,” she said.
“When governments pay insurance and when they have an event like drought or flood, the agency will be able to disburse money to them very fast so that they can take care of those who have been impacted. So, we don’t have to wait to go to the world to appeal for donations. This organisation can help its members.”
Moreover, she advised private sector involvement in developing solutions to some of the challenges facing the country as governments alone cannot solve all problems.
She said young people should be encouraged to become entrepreneurs. The role of Small and Medium Enterprise, she added is very important to growing the economy and solving diverse problems.
Citing instances of developed nations such as Germany, the United States where SMEs have been major contributors to economic growth, similar activity is being witnessed in Nigeria.
She further acknowledged how women and other young persons in Nigeria strive to contribute to the economy.
“The private sector has been helping to solve problems in Nigeria. Let me just go to MSMEs because to me, they are the one that matters most.
“Young people are running businesses. It’s for us to see how we can clear ways for them so they can employ not only themselves but several others.”
Beyond that, she also called for more manufacturers in Nigeria, to complement activities of the MSMEs.
On the contributions of youths to reducing the risk posed by COVID-19, the former Managing Director of World Bank recalled how some young individuals converted discarded drum barrels and other unused equipment to designing handwashing machines.
“You know in many places; we don’t have clean water. We lack access to places to even wash our hands. So, trying to develop such a machine at this time, I thought it was very innovative and I was intrigued.”
“Similarly, some people have developed applications that can help us monitor what is going on with COVID-19, and also get information.
“So I’m very intrigued and very supportive that young people see a problem and they tried to apply their minds to find solutions using modern technologies and other means.”