Close Rural-Urban Dev Gaps, EU Tells FG

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The European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS has called on the Federal Government to minimise the persistent rural-urban development gaps by designing and implementing innovative programs for rural revitalisation.
The First Counsellor, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Montserrat Pantaleoni, made the call in Abuja, yesterday.
She said the call became imperative based on a recent report released by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs that Nigeria was projected to be the world’s third most populous country by the year 2050.
Pantaleoni said to overcome these challenges, the three tiers of government and other stakeholders must come together and initiate workable policies on institutions and investments to transform rural areas into vibrant and healthy places to live, work and raise families.
“The report says that Nigeria, currently the world’s seventh largest country, has the fastest growing population of the 10 most populous countries worldwide.
“That the report also projects Nigeria will surpass the U.S. shortly before mid-century calls for great concern,’’ she added.
The first counsellor stressed that the human capital must be a priority, to boost the low index of development in Nigeria.
“High percentage of rural populace living below poverty level and the deficits must be addressed.
She stressed that it was time to get set for the challenges and in order to meet the growing food needs, agricultural production must be improved upon.
Pantaleoni said Nigeria had no reason to face food security because its agriculture sector had enormous potential and if be properly harnessed; it could make a vital contribution to promoting inclusive growth on the continent.
She said many communities living in rural areas were often marginalised and most vulnerable to climate change, given that their livelihoods heavily depend on the land and the environment.