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publication March 9, 2022

2022 Human Capital Plan for the Middle East and North Africa


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Human capital consists of the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate over their lives. More human capital is associated with higher earnings for people, higher income for countries, and stronger cohesion in societies. It is a central driver of sustainable growth and poverty reduction for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries.

Unfortunately, the state of human capital in MENA has gone from bad to worse during the last two years as countries made insufficient progress to address structural impediments pre-COVID-19, and human capital suffered setbacks due to prolonged school closures and job losses.

This 2022 update to the World Bank’s Human Capital Plan provides insights into the period that follows the Human Capital Index 2020, which was based on data collected prior to the pandemic. It takes stock of early progress and assesses the impact that COVID-19 has been having on human capital.

The plan proposes a way forward to accelerate progress in MENA by capitalizing on new opportunities created by the pandemic. The 2022 MENA Human Capital Plan identifies a three-pronged approach to Recover human capital losses, Reform systems, and Reimagine human capital, making human capital a powerful driver of more inclusive, more resilient, and greener growth in the region.