The World Bank’s Africa Human Capital Plan (HCP) is in the forefront of its efforts to accelerate human capital development in the region, centered on a set of gamechangers and ambitious targets to be achieved by 2023 on child mortality and stunting rates, girls and boys learning outcomes, social protection coverage, lower adolescent fertility rates, better sanitation practices and an improved Human Capital Index score.
The World Bank launched the Plan in response to Sub-Saharan Africa’s low scores on the World Bank’s Human Capital Index, a measurement of how well countries invest in the next generation of workers. The score is explained by high mortality and stunting rates in the region, as well as inadequate student learning outcomes – all of which have a direct effect on economic productivity. In 2020, a child born in a Sub-Saharan country could expect to achieve only 40% of his/her future productivity if she were to enjoy complete education and full health.
The Africa HCP is a part of the Human Capital Project, a global effort led by the World Bank to accelerate more and better investments in people for greater equity and economic growth.
Since the Africa HCP launched in 2019, the World Bank, countries, and communities have boosted investments in Africa’s people. Highlights include a strong push to empower women and accelerate Africa’s demographic transition. The World Bank has committed over 6 billion dollars in new women's empowerment projects in the region. Our human development project commitments have doubled, with nearly half of them in countries impacted by fragility, conflict and violence. Teams across the World Bank Group are stepping up to support human capital priorities, such as road safety in transport projects and electrification of all health centers and schools in Africa by 2030.
The Plan is also innovative. A first generation of operations is supporting human capital policy reforms, such as stronger legal frameworks to protect women and children. New large-scale training for our staff and clients is expanding the use of geolocated data collected via mobile phones to improve project and service delivery.
Seven Game Changers to Advance Human Capital Development
The COVID-19 crisis underscores the need to protect and bolster human capital in the overarching effort to save lives, promote well-being, and safeguard future productivity. To accelerate human capital development in the face of the pandemic, the World Bank has identified seven game changers that are prioritized and traced in the AFR HCP:
- Increasing World Bank financing for human capital in Africa
- Rallying World Bank country teams and partners around the human capital agenda to enable comprehensive cross-sectoral solutions at scale
- Supporting policy reforms to overcome legal and regulatory constraints
- Accelerating the demographic transition by empowering women and girls
- Preventing and reversing damage to human capital in settings affected by fragility, conflict, and violence
- Leveraging technology and innovations in projects to further human capital
- Advancing research and advocacy to strengthen the knowledge base and the demand side of human capital
Country Briefs and Data on Human Capital