WASHINGTON, March 26, 2020 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a $100 million development policy operation to support the Government of Madagascar’s investment in human capital. The operation will help improve human resources in health and education, enhance the availability and predictability of financial resources in the social sectors and strengthen legal protections for women and children. This is the first in a series of two operations.
According to the Human Capital Index (HCI), a child born in Madagascar today will be 37 percent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health. Between 2012 and 2017, Madagascar’s HCI decreased from 0.39 to 0.37, placing it below regional and income group averages. Children in Madagascar can expect to complete 7.5 years of schooling by age 18, reduced to 4.2 years when adjusted for quality of learning. Globally, Madagascar has the fourth highest rate of stunting among children under five (42 percent). Moreover, Madagascar’s nascent, under-financed social protection system reaches only 5 percent of the extreme poor.
“Madagascar’s strongest asset is its people. The government has expressed a strong willingness to advance reforms to invest more in its human capital through the Emergence Plan of Madagascar”, said Marie-Chantal Uwanyiligira, Country Manager for Madagascar. “This operation seeks to support the government in this endeavor in order to reverse alarming trends in poverty and human capital development.”
The operation is structured around three pillars critical to improving the human capital of Malagasies: (i) better qualified, distributed, and performing human resources in education and health sectors, (ii) more transparent and predictable investments in human capital; and (iii) stronger legal frameworks for the protection of women and children. Standards for the teaching profession have been approved while quality control measures in the recruitment of community teachers have been rolled out. Regulation and quality control mechanisms of pre-service training of health workers will also be strengthened.
A single window of entry into the public service has been created for better management of human resources throughout the public service, resulting in a streamlined system to efficiently deploy staff where they are most needed. This operation will also seek to make new and existing resources in the social sectors more predictable and transparent. This includes expanding the coverage of the social safety nets by 30,000 households, and rendering budget execution more transparent, along the principles of Open Data Budgeting. It will also help strengthen the legal frameworks for better protection of children and advancing gender equality.
“The two elements most critical for schools and clinics in Madagascar are their human resources, and the financial resources with which they operate”, says Peter Holland, Task Team Leader for this operation. “The Government has launched important reforms in deciding who gets to be a teacher, and how medical professionals are trained. These are important first steps to investing in Madagascar’s human capital of tomorrow.”