56% of all Kenyan children born today will grow up to be half as productive as they could be, World Bank report says

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World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim during the release of the Human Capital Index at the 2018 World Bank-IMF meeting held in Indonesia. PHOTO/COURTESY: World Bank

A child born in Kenya today will be 52 percent productive when he/she grows up, a report by the World Bank has revealed.

According to the Human Capital Index, globally, 56 percent of all children born today will grow up to be at best, half as productive as they could be and 92 percent will grow up to be, at best, 75 percent as productive as they could be.

Kenya ranked 94th among 157 countries under assessment and fourth in Africa with an average score of 0.52 in the report that quantifies the level of education and health in relation to productivity in the workplace.

Among African nations, only Seychelles, Mauritius and Algeria recorded better or equivalent average scores. Seychelles which was ranked 43rd worldwide and first in Africa attained a 0.65 average while Mauritius which came in 52nd globally and second in Africa attained a 0.60 average. Algeria was ranked 93rd universally but its score was equivalent to that of Kenya.

According to a local daily, following the publication of the Human Capital Index, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich insisted that the government would continue to invest more on quality education and affordable healthcare in an attempt to raise the country’s score even higher.

What children actually learn was also factored in the report with Kenyan statistics indicating that only about 7.8 years are spent in school despite the 8-4-4 curriculum.

The report also revealed that the mortality rate of newborns in the country has improved with ‘ninety five out of a hundred children born in Kenya surviving to age five.’

The HCI measures the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by age 18. It conveys the productivity of the next generation of workers compared to a benchmark of complete education and full health.

It is made up of five indicators: the probability of survival to age five, a child’s expected years of schooling, harmonized test scores as a measure of quality of learning, adult survival rate (fraction of 15-year olds that will survive to age 60), and the proportion of children who are not stunted.

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