A World Bank Human Capital Index (HCI) launched Thursday in Bali, Indonesia has ranked Nigeria at the 152nd position amongst indexed countries of the world.
The HCI constructed for 157 countries measures how much countries lose in economic productivity by under-investing in their people.
Specifically, it conveys the productivity of the next generation of workers compared to a benchmark of complete education and full health.
Nigeria’s HCI at 0.34 indicates that a child born in Nigeria today will be 34 percent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health.
This performance is lower than average statistics obtained for countries within Nigeria’s region and income group, the World Bank data explained.
The HCI data similarly shows that, globally, 56 percent of all children born today will grow up to be, at best, half as productive as they could be; and 92 percent will grow up to be, at best, 75 percent as productive as they could be.
This means that 56 percent of children born today across the world will lose more than half their potential lifetime earnings because governments are not currently making effective investments in their people to ensure a healthy, educated, and resilient population ready for the workplace of the future.
According to Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank, the implication of this performance is profound, because as low skill employment begins to go extinct, the requirement to obtain employment will continue to go higher and higher.
He noted that human capital is a key driver of sustainable, inclusive economic growth, but investing in health and education has not gotten the attention it deserves.
“So, this is a very loud and strong message to Africa, to invest more in health and education.
The message here is that heads of state and ministers of finance have to take responsibility.
There is so much waiting for grants to come and what is happening in many African countries is if they don’t receive grants they simply don’t spend on health and education.
We hope this is a loud wake up call to African countries especially Nigeria,” Kim said while speaking at the press conference in Bali Thursday.
The HCI is one of the elements of the World Bank’s Human Capital Project, which seeks to raise awareness and increase demand for interventions to build human capital. It also aims to accelerate better and more investments in people.