Bucharest, May 30th, 2019 - Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank Chief Executive Officer (CEO), emphasized the importance of investing in human capital for economic success in an era of technological transformation. Her remarks came during her two-day visit to Romania in a speech at National University for Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA) where Ms. Georgieva was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa for lifetime achievements by the Rector of the University, Mr. Remus Pricopie.
The World Bank CEO also underlined the importance of Romania’s strong commitment to gender equality. Romania scored over 90 points in the recent World Bank ‘Women, Business and the Law’ report looking at a decade of reforms across the world.
Ms. Georgieva also noted that women in Romania lead in the EU in terms of being actively involved in the traditionally male-dominated fields of science, math, and computing. They are more likely than women from other EU countries to graduate with degrees in engineering and manufacturing. And at 5.2 percent, Romania boasts the lowest wage disparity between men and women in the EU, well below the Union’s 16 percent average.
“It is wonderful to see Romanian women excel in traditionally male-dominated fields like science, math, and computing. This is a great example that other EU countries should follow,” said Kristalina Georgieva. “For countries to succeed in the fast-paced digital economy, both women and men need equal opportunities to succeed in business and the workplace across all sectors and regions.”
Evidence shows that technology is transforming the world of work by changing the nature of firms, creating new business models and expanding job opportunities. Technology brings opportunity if people are prepared with skills to participate in the new global digital economy that is emerging. The most significant step countries can take to prepare for the jobs of the future is to invest in people to build human capital.
The World Bank is already assisting Romania to invest more and invest smarter in quality educational programs. The Romania Secondary Education Project (‘ROSE’) provides grants of around €100,000 per initiative to under-performing schools in struggling areas to facilitate investments in remedial classes, tutoring, counselling, coaching, and extracurricular activities. These grants have helped more than 250 under-performing schools decrease drop-out rates – from 6.5 percent in 2014 to 3 percent in 2018 - and increase graduation rates – from 86.9 percent in 2014 to 94.6 percent in 2018.
The World Bank is also committed to supporting better health outcomes for people in Romania. A €250m project that supports medical infrastructure is being implemented, and a new project is being prepared to expand primary health care coverage for underserved populations. The new results-based operation would help close service delivery gaps by increasing access to family doctors, preventive care, and universal insurance coverage.
“Education and health have improved in Romania over the past two decades, but more needs to be done to reach levels seen in other EU countries”, said Kristalina Georgieva. “A more balanced and integrated health system will improve people’s lives through interventions that address illness at an earlier stage, and in turn this can increase productivity. Combined with investments in education, this would develop human capital and increase competitiveness and growth in Romania.”
During her visit to Romania Kristalina Georgieva also delivered a keynote speech at the High-Level International Conference on ‘The Role and Status of Women in Modern Society - Between Empowerment, Leadership and Gender Discrimination’, organized by the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
For more information about the World Bank's work in Romania, visit: www.worldbank.org/en/country/romania
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