Nigeria has been ranked 152 out of 157 countries in Human Capital Development. How is this possible, considering the huge financial assistance the country has received from the World Bank and IMF for Human Capital Development over the years?
The ranking was done after reports from a survey in a Human Capital Index (HCI) was unveiled by the World Bank earlier this week. The HCI measures the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by age 18, given the risks of poor health and education that prevail in the country where he or she lives. The index measures each country’s distance to the frontier of complete education and full health for a child born today.
The World Bank Group has decried the poor level of investment in health, education and technology by the Nigerian government.
The president of the multilateral institution, Mr. Jim Yong Kim, said this Thursday, while responding to questions during a media briefing at the ongoing IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Bali, Indonesia.
This is just as Nigeria was ranked 152 out of 157 countries surveyed in a Human Capital Index (HCI) that was unveiled by the bank yesterday. The HCI measures the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by age 18, given the risks of poor health and education that prevail in the country where he or she lives. The index measures each country’s distance to the frontier of complete education and full health for a child born today.
Continuing, Kim, in his response to questions during the media briefing, said it was unfortunate that Nigeria, one of the most important countries in the world, was ranked 152 out of 157 on the HCI.
Nigeria unfortunately ranks 152 out of 157 countries. We provide quite a bit of support to Nigeria in terms of the health budget. But we feel that the overall spending on health is just far too low at 0.76 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Also, the educational outcomes in Nigeria are very poor.
Nigeria is one of the most important countries not only in Africa, but in the world. And so, we feel that it will be extremely important for Nigeria to really go on a different level all together in terms of their commitment to investing in human capital.
Many African countries are in the red zone, if you see the HCI. You know, I think the World Bank has to take some responsibility for having emphasised hard infrastructure – roads, rails, energy- for a long time.
We are now saying that’s really the wrong approach and that you have to start investing in your people right now. And not least of which, of all reasons why you need to do that, the rapid change in technology, the fact that many low-skill jobs will be eliminated.
Nobody is quite sure how long that will take. But a child born today, in 20 years, almost certainly, many of the low-skill jobs today will be gone. And the requirement for this child to be able to learn throughout his or her entire life is simply going to get higher. The requirement and the needs are going to get higher.”
The World Bank boss stressed the need for Nigeria and other African countries to raise their level of investment in health and education and reduce their over-reliance on grants to grow the sectors.
The message here is that head of states and ministers have to take responsibility. There’s so much waiting for grants to come. What has happened is that in many African countries, if they don’t receive grant-based financing, they simply don’t spend on health and education.
So, we hope that this is a loud wake-up call for leaders throughout the African continent and especially in Nigeria,” he added.
Kim described human capital as a key driver of sustainable, inclusive economic growth, saying, investing in health and education had not gotten the attention it deserved.
Kim stated, “This index creates a direct line between improving outcomes in health and education, productivity, and economic growth. I hope that it drives countries to take urgent action and invest more – and more effectively – in their people.”
He added, “The bar is rising for everyone. Building human capital is critical for all countries, at all income levels, to compete in the economy of the future.”
On her part, Lagarde who expressed delight about the appointment of another female, Ms. Zainab Ahmed, as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, and recommended that the CBN should sustain its tight monetary policy.
“I would certainly recommend a tight monetary policy, higher non‑oil revenue mobilization for Nigeria. I remind you—you know that probably inside out—that domestic revenue mobilization is five per cent of GDP in Nigeria, and that is just way too low, relative to where Nigeria should be in order to address the issues of health, education, proper social spending on the people, and particularly the young people of Nigeria,”
She said while responding to a THISDAY question on her advice for the new finance minister.
“That would certainly be a very strong recommendation that I would give her. And structural reforms, that would probably include really making sure that the refineries and the oil equipment that is available in Nigeria works well and works for the benefit of Nigeria. That would be my recommendation,” she added.
On October 1st 1960, Nigeria gained her Independence. 58 Years later, the country is an example of a Nation that has lost direction. How can citizens …
Credit: THISDAY Newspapers
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