World Bank launches Africa’s human capital plan

World Bank

The World Bank on Thursday launched a new strategy that will enable African countries to augment their human capital.

The World Bank’s Human Capital Index, a measurement of how well countries invest in the next generation of workers, ranks Sub-Saharan Africa as the lowest scoring region in terms of human capital.

The score is explained by high mortality and stunting rates in the region, as well as inadequate student learning outcomes all of which have a direct effect on economic productivity.

The plan by the World Bank aims to drastically reduce child mortality rates, mitigate stunted growth among African children and increase learning outcomes for both boys and girls in the continent’s schools by 2023. These achievements, as stated by the bank, can raise Africa’s Human Capital Index score upwards to increase the productivity of Africa’s future workers by 13 per cent.

According to the international financial institution, the strategy will be geared towards ensuring that African youth grow up with optimal health which will go a long way in empowering them with skills that will enable them to survive in today’s world which is increasingly shifting towards digitization. 

“Preventing a child from fulfilling his or her potential is not only fundamentally unjust, but it also limits the growth potential of economies whose future workers are held back. GDP per worker in Sub-Saharan Africa could be 2.5 times higher if everyone were healthy and enjoyed a good education from pre-school to secondary school,” said World Bank Vice President for Africa Hafez Ghanem at the launch of the Bank’s plan during the ongoing World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings in Washington D.C.

The World Bank will similarly increase its investments in human capital in Africa by 50 per cent in the next funding cycle. This includes new World Bank grants and concessional finance for human capital projects in Africa totaling USD15 billion in fiscal years 2021-2023. The World Bank will invest these funds strategically to unblock structural constraints to human capital development.

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