I would like to provide another update on some of the work underway at the World Bank Group to address the COVID-19 pandemic and other significant development challenges.
The pandemic is hitting developing countries hard, and the inequality of that impact is clear.It threatens to push over 100 million people into extreme poverty and is exacerbating inequality throughout the world. The negative impact on health and education may last decades—80 million children are missing out on essential vaccinations and over a billion are out of school.
|WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic threatens hard-won gains in health and education over the past decade, especially in the poorest countries, a new World Bank Group analysis finds. Investments in human capital—the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate over their lives—are key to unlocking a child’s potential and to improving economic growth in every country.
The World Bank Group’s 2020 Human Capital Index includes health and education data for 174 countries – covering 98 percent of the world’s population – up to March 2020, providing a pre-pandemic baseline on the health and education of children. The analysis shows that pre-pandemic, most countries had made steady progress in building human capital of children, with the biggest strides made in low-income countries. Despite this progress, and even before the effects of the pandemic, a child born in a typical country could expect to achieve just 56 percent of their potential human capital, relative to a benchmark of complete education and full health.
There is now a wealth of evidence that ensuring a well-educated, healthy, and well-nourished population can pay bigger dividends to the economy than investing in roads and bridges alone. The World Bank Group’s Human Capital Project, launched in 2018, aims to accelerate more and better investments in people as a key way to unlock greater equity and inclusive growth.
Without risk, there’s little reward. This is the gist of dozens of quotes attributable to such notable figures as John F. Kennedy and Yo-Yo Ma, Paulo Coelho and Rihanna. Their maxims on life hold true for markets.For as long as there has been society, risk-sharing has been an essential clause in the social contract. However, in the present period of rapid and fundamental change, this question continues to demand the attention of policy makers.
On October 11, at the Human Capital Summit 2018 Philips CEO Frans van Houten co-signed an open letter, to the world community highlighting the need for greater investment in human capital – the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate throughout their lives – through better nutrition, health care, education, jobs and skills. The publication of the open letter coincided with the launch of the World Bank Group’s Human Capital Index – a simple but effective metric for human capital outcomes such as child survival, early hard wiring of children for success, student learning, and adult health. Philips has made a commitment to improve the lives of 3 billion people by 2030. We are working with the World Bank Group (among others) to reach this goal.
This blog is part of a series on Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The series includes contributions from external bloggers and reflects their views. Follow the conversation on Twitter #healthforall.
When Cecilia Rodriguez was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and pain in the joints, eight years ago, she had a major revelation. She realized that what she was promoting as director of a primary health care facility in Chile was very different than what she actually needed as a patient.
In response, she founded the nonprofit Fundación Me Muevo with her sister, who also has rheumatoid arthritis, to support people affected by the chronic condition. She also became a patient advocate — Me Muevo is part of a growing movement of patient-led organizations in Chile. “Health care systems tend to be geared towards treating acute illnesses and are rarely organized to help patients with lifelong diseases,” Cecilia says. “We called the NGO Me Muevo (‘I move’) because we learned that with this condition you have to keep your body moving, but also because ‘I move’ means ‘I take action.’”
Attend the LIVE EVENT Boosting Productivity in Africa: The Role of Human Capital at Annual Meetings 2018 Online and join in on the discussion.
October 13, 2018 | 9:00 WITA (Bali. Indonesia)
October 12, 2018 | 21:00 ET
October 13, 2018 | 1:00 GMT
Comparing two middle-income countries is not unusual, but two that are geographically far and are apparently different is less common. However, both Turkey and Peru have had the highest growth in their respective regions in recent years, aspire to become high-income economies in the next decade, depend on trade. Both countries face downside risks if structural changes—in the education and training system, and the economy more broadly—are not made to ensure that contributions to economic growth come from improvements in productivity. Both countries recognize there is a large gap between their productivity levels and the global productivity frontier, and both have growing populations that are not adequately equipped to meet labor market needs, with average productivity levels. Given these (similar) challenges, both countries have as their development goal, central to their development agenda, to improve productivity to continue growing in a sustainable manner.