World Bank Ranks Nigeria Lowest In Human Capital Dev’t

**To Invest $15bn In Africa In 3 Years

 

Tayo Olanipekun, Washington DC

The World Bank has said it will increase its investments in human capital in Africa by 50 per cent in the next funding cycle to include new grants and concessional finance for human capital projects totaling $15 billion in fiscal years 2021-2023.

This is coming as the Bank ranks Nigeria sixth lowest on its Human Capital Development Index for 2018 out of 157 economies with a value of 0.34.

It said the fund will be invested “strategically” to unblock structural constraints to human capital development and to target game “changing interventions” that leverage technology and innovation, which will prevent and reverse damage to human capital in fragile and conflict-affected settings.

A drastic reduction in child mortality to save four million lives, averting stunting among 11 million children, and increasing learning outcomes for girls and boys in school by 20 per cent are part of the target the World Bank said it has set.

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The Plan, According to the World Bank Vice President for Africa, Hafez Ghanem, at the launch of the Bank’s Plan during the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington on Thursday, also aims at empowering women to prevent early marriage and pregnancy for adolescent girls.

“The adolescent fertility rate in Sub-Saharan Africa is 102 births per 1,000 girls—three times as high as in South Asia. This is not only damaging for girls and their children, but it also hurts economic growth,” said Ghanem who added that the World Bank’s Africa Human Capital Plan involves ambitious targets to be achieved in Africa by 2023.

“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 Ghanem.

Nigeria only ranked higher than Liberia, Mali, Niger, South Sudan and Chad in descending order, with Seychelles ranked highest in Africa at 43 and Singapore ranked number one in Human Capital Development.

The World Bank said it is already supporting countries to come up with new strategies to invest more and better in their people with 23 African countries representing 60 per cent of the region’s population being part of a coalition of nearly 60 countries to join the Human Capital Project.

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